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Ucore to test Innovation Metals’ REE oxides extraction technology

IMC’s pilot-scale RapidS system. (Image courtesy of Innovation Metals Corp.).

Ucore Rare Metal (TSXV: UCU) has executed a binding technical services agreement with Innovation Metals Corp. (IMC) to kick off a testing program for the processing of mixed rare-earth element concentrates into separated REE oxides.

The process uses Innovation Metals’ proprietary RapidSX REE separation technology, which is an accelerated solvent-extraction-based REE separation mechanism for both heavy REE and light REE feedstocks, with expected significant technical and economic efficiencies for producing commercial-grade REO.

As a result of the significantly increased kinetics of the RapidSX technology, the time to achieve equilibrium and separation is dramatically accelerated – from weeks to hours/days

Developed with $1.8 million in assistance from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Army Research Laboratory, RapidSX combines the time-proven chemistry of solvent extraction, the international REE industry’s standard commercial separation technology, with a new column-based platform, which significantly reduces time to process completion and plant footprint.

IMC’s bench-scale test work will be based on a mixed REE concentrate produced from Ucore’s flagship Bokan project, located at Bokan Mountain in Alaska and/or other commercially available, US allied-sourced, mixed REE concentrate feedstock sources currently under nearer-term consideration by Ucore.

The study will assess yield potential for targeted REE compounds and will include preliminary technical and economic estimates of the separation and purification process, including capital and operating costs.

“Based on IMC’s prior test programs and subject to the specific results of this study, the RapidSX REE separation technology, a derivative of SX technology, may offer a more efficient technological pathway for utilization in the company’s planned Alaska Strategic Metals Complex in Southeast Alaska,” Ucore management said in a media statement.

“In this case, upon the conclusion of this preliminary study, the company may elect to incorporate this technology into its plans for the Alaska SMC and to conduct a more robust technical and economic evaluation of RapidS for incorporation into the expected first phase of the Bokan Project Feasibility Study during 2020/21.”