American Rare Earths (ASX: ARR | ADRs - OTCQX: AMRRY | Common Shares - OTCQB: ARRNF) (“ARR” or the “Company”), a leader in the rare earth elements industry, is thrilled to announce significant breakthroughs in metallurgical technology as part of the SynBREE project. This project, a consortium led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), is part of the Environmental Microbes as a BioEngineering Resource (EMBER) program within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a U.S. Department of Defense agency.
The groundbreaking results include the successful preconcentration of Halleck Creek ore to 3.5% Total Rare Earth Oxide (TREO) at a 12:1 upgrade ratio. This achievement represents a remarkable ~200% increase from the existing flowsheet design, utilizing cost-effective and conventional Dense Medium Separation (DMS) techniques. This advancement is a significant leap forward in the field of rare earth element processing.
Key highlights include:
- A substantial reduction in the need for Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separator (WHIMS) by 70% from the existing design, leading to a significant decrease in both capital and operating expenditures.
- The feed mass entering direct leaching processes has been reduced to 7% from 16%, marking a 56% reduction in material reporting to leach circuits. This further contributes to a considerable reduction in operating costs.
- The SynBREE project, under this new development, has been selected to advance to the next phase of study. The company is actively engaged in discussions regarding funding and the next steps.
Under the expert guidance of Dr. Yongqin Jiao and Dr. Dan Park at LLNL, and consortium member Dr. Rick Honaker at the University of Kentucky, the team has successfully performed preconcentrating testwork for the project. Preconcentrating is a vital step in the processing of critical minerals like rare earth elements, as it efficiently separates the less valuable gangue material from the more valuable ore.
CEO Donald Swartz commented on the results:
“The program set out to fill a critical DoD supply chain gap, and these results help to ensure that the U.S. maintains its technological edge. We are now focused on implementing these improvements into our flowsheet and scoping study. I am excited with the upside potential, as the team utilised ore specifically low in radionuclides from early exploration work at the project. Since that time, we have completed new exploration programs and developed mining plans in near-zero strip ratio ore that is approximately 55% higher grade than what was utilised in this work program. This is a continuation of our work to de-risk the Halleck Creek project, which is free of the sovereign risks associated with projects identified in Latin American, SE Asia and Africa.”
“Halleck Creek is stacking up to become a world class project which has the strategic scale and potential to secure a stable, domestic supply of rare earths for the U.S. for many decades.”
Dr. Yongqin Jiao, of LLNL commented on the results:
"Our protein-based rare earth separation technologies continue to be advanced and are greatly enhanced by this conventional beneficiation technique that will improve the economic viability. Removal of the gangue materials at the solid state enhances the concentration of the rare earth elements, creating an optimal solution feed for downstream bio-separation. The recent findings by our collaborator Prof. Honaker at University of Kentucky, showcasing low-cost density separation coupled with magnetic separation of allanite, have a substantial impact on our overall process efficacy and economic feasibility. These findings contribute significantly to refining our approach and enhancing the efficiency of the rare earth element extraction process”
American Rare Earths (ASX: ARR | ADRs - OTCQX: AMRRY | Common Shares - OTCQB: ARRNF) owns the Halleck Creek, WY and La Paz, AZ rare earth deposits which have the potential to become the largest and most sustainable rare earth projects in North America. American Rare Earths is developing environmentally friendly and cost-effective extraction and processing methods to meet the rapidly increasing demand for resources essential to the clean energy transition and US national security. The Company continues to evaluate other exploration opportunities and is collaborating with US Government-supported R&D to develop efficient processing and separation techniques of rare earth elements to help ensure a renewable future.