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Ucore wraps up commissioning of RapidSX rare earths separation tech plant

Ucore Rare Metals (TSXV: UCU; US-OTC: UURAF) has completed the commissioning of its RapidSX commercial demonstration plant for separating rare earth elements (REEs), at its facility in Kingston, Ontario.  

Ucore’s demonstration plant is inside its 465-sq.-metre RapidSX facility, where the technology is aimed at separating heavy and light REEs to extract samples of praseodymium and neodymium, two of the most important REEs often used in the production of permanent magnet materials.

“Since early this year, the company has been testing, adjusting, and optimizing its 52-stage Demo Plant to meet its RapidSX commercialization and demonstration deployment objectives in Louisiana,” said Ucore vice president and chief operating officer Mike Schrider, in a news release on Thursday. “Ucore is very pleased to announce the completion of commissioning procedures with its third and final mixed REE chemical concentrate and the commencement of its US-Department of Defense demonstration program.”

That program is intended to establish a technological and economic comparison between conventional rare earths solvent extraction and RapidSX for separating heavy and light REE and to set up RapidSX for commercial deployment in North America, Shrider added.

During the final commissioning phase, more than one tonne of mixed rare earth feed was processed in less than one week of run-time while product specification targets were reached, said Boyd Davis, co-principal of Ucore’s commercialization partner Kingston Process Metallurgy.

The news about Ucore’s commissioning comes just one day after China banned the export of technologies used for extracting and separating rare earths, as Western countries continue working to create critical mineral supply chains separate from China’s influence. China holds a dominant position globally in the mining and processing of the 17 rare metals used in various technologies including cellular phones, magnets and electric vehicles.

Red Cloud Securities mining analyst David Talbot said in a research note on Friday that the commissioning news is positive because it demonstrates the commercial efficacy of the RapidSX technology to separate REEs in an efficient way. It also brings Ucore one step closer to developing its first commercial, 7,500-tonne-per-year strategic metals complex in Louisiana, Talbot added.

Ucore says it expects to reach several milestones in the first quarter of 2024 on the RapidSX technology and its demonstration plant as it works towards the development of the facility in Alexandria, La.

Last month, the company received a $4.3-million grant from the Canadian government for the development of the RapidSX technology, and in June it received a US$4-million grant in June from the U.S. Department of Defense, aimed at producing the heavy REE magnet materials, terbium and dysprosium.

Shares in Ucore were up 5.6% to 94¢ on Friday afternoon in Toronto, valuing the company at $52.7 million. Its shares traded in a 52-week range of 57¢ and $1.57.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More