This achievement was made possible using a patent pending process developed by Drs. Wencai Zhang and Rick Honaker and funding provided by a U.S. Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement (DE-FE0027035). “The novel rare earth recovery process is low cost and more environmentally friendly than alternative technologies such as solvent extraction. We are excited about the new development and look forward to testing the process in our pilot-scale facility which will be operational during spring 2018,“ states Dr. Honaker.
Another unique feature of the new rare earth process is that scandium, which is the mostly highly valued rare earth element, is efficiently separated from the other rare elements and concentrated as a separate product from the circuit. The process will be part of a ¼-tph mobile rare earth recovery pilot scale plant being developed and tested by Dr. Honaker’s research team as part of the U.S. Department of Energy project.