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American Rare Earths Ltd (ASX:ARR, OTCQB:ARRNF) shares were trading about 8% higher intra-day after revealing a 28.5% increase in recovery of neodymium and praseodymium oxide (NdPrO) from its flagship Halleck Creek Project in Wyoming.
The metallurgical testing program, performed under the direction of John Wood Group PLC (LSE:WG.), indicates the ore can be effectively processed using conventional technologies that not only require less initial capital expenditure but also provide lower ongoing operating costs.
Block flow diagrams are now complete and will be utilised in a subsequent phase of metallurgical test work to finalise a flowsheet to be used in a forthcoming Preliminary Economic Analysis.
ARR chief executive officer Donald Swartz said: “We are encouraged by the results of our most recent metallurgical tests provided by Wood PLC because they indicate that the properties of the Halleck Creek deposit may allow us to extract greater recoveries of magnet metals using simpler, lower-cost technology”.
Potentially the largest strategic rare earth project in the US
ARR continues to advance the Halleck Creek project as potentially the largest strategic rare earth project in the United States, with a previously announced 1.43 billion tonne JORC resource.
The mineralisation in this deposit is allanite and testing shows that rare earth elements can be leached from allanite utilising atmospheric acid tank leaching, whereas rare earth elements cannot be leached from monazite or bastnaesite deposits utilising the same leaching process.
In the most recent tests, sulphation baking kilns were removed from the updated flowsheet design in favour of acid tank leaching.
Acid tank leaching requires much lower operating temperatures and provides lower capital and operating costs than thermal cracking operations.
Furthermore, the main reagents utilised are in plentiful supply in the Western United States and the project is proximate to interstate highway and railroad transportation.
Initial results indicate increased recoveries of targeted rare earth materials (82-87% of the NdPr) using conventional processing technologies.
Furthermore, ARR’s current exploration program is nearing completion.
The core material obtained from the ongoing program is being prepared and will be sent to labs for the next phase of detailed metallurgical testing.