Ucore, Innovation Metals’ REE separation plant to be commissioned soon

Rare earth ore. (Reference image by US Government, Wikimedia Commons).

Canada’s Ucore Rare Metals (TSXV: UCU) and its subsidiary, Innovation Metals, announced that the commissioning of their RapidSX demonstration-scale pilot plant is scheduled to start in Q3 2021. 

The plant uses the RapidSX technology, which allows for the cost-effective bulk separation and purification of rare-earth elements – including both heavy REEs and light REEs – for the production of REE oxides. The system is also able to support the refining of lithium, nickel, and cobalt for lithium-ion battery materials. 

IMC expects RapidSX to be ready for commercial adoption and implementation in approximately 15 months from now

In a press release, the companies said that the plant’s commissioning will start with a comprehensive, independent techno-economic study and the design of a commercial-scale REE separation facility, both planned for completion in Q1 2022.

“With the anticipated ability to demonstrate the effectiveness of the RapidSX Demonstration Plant on REE feedstocks, IMC expects RapidSX to be ready for commercial adoption and implementation in approximately 15 months from now, via revenue-producing licensing agreements with IMC customers,” the media brief states. “Additionally, the critical data derived from the RapidSX development program will be incorporated into the ongoing development of Ucore’s planned Alaska Strategic Metals Complex in southeast Alaska.”

According to the firms, IMC is already in numerous advanced-stage negotiations for RapidSX test program agreements with current and near-term REE producers in US-allied jurisdictions who desire testing regarding the utilization of the RapidSX technology for the separation of specific end-user mixed REE concentrates. 

IMC said it has also been actively evaluating various already commercially available US-allied-sourced LREE and HREE mixed REE concentrates from existing mining operations rather than from exploration properties, to develop a comprehensive dataset that will demonstrate the versatility of the RapidSX technology for REE separation. 

“The evaluation process will lead to the final selection of one such MREC to serve as the initial REE feedstock for the forthcoming RapidSX Demonstration Plant,” the release states. “Ucore expects to provide further updates on the MREC feedstock options being explored by IMC in Q1 2021.”

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