Geomega Resources has completed a capex study for a rare earths processing plant with at least twice the throughput as the original plant. The new estimates were part of the front end engineering and design (FEED) study.
The original plan was to build a demonstration plant with a throughput of 1 t/d using 2,000-litre batch reactors, and further investment would be needed to reach 1.5 t/d. The process was designed for 24-hour operation. The new study has economies of scale to process 1.5 t/d using 5,000-litre reactors. They would operate for a single eight to 10 hour shift.
The first plant running at 1 t/d was estimated to have a capex of C$2 million. The new estimate for 1.5 t/d capacity is C$2.6 million (–20%/+30%) including a contingency of 20%.
Geomega also said the study confirmed that its ISR process developed by its Innord subsidiary is technically feasible and uses off the shelf equipment thereby making it easier to scale up.
The ISR process is environmentally friendly, compared to other technologies for recovering REE. It can be used on concentrates from a mine site, or more importantly, is a means of recycling rare earth permanent magnets into neodymium, praseodymium, terbium and dysprosium.
The next step is to finalize the ongoing engineering activities and begin the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) process to build the plant.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)