American Rare Earths Limited CEO Donald Swartz joined Steve Darling from Proactive to share significant metallurgical results achieved as part of a consortium led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The collaboration is part of a program funded by the Environmental Microbes initiative, involving cooperation between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of Kentucky. Swartz told Proactive the Halleck Creek ore was effectively preconcentrated to 3.5% Total Rare Earth Oxides at a 12:1 upgrade ratio. This represents an impressive ~200% increase compared to the existing flowsheet design that uses low-cost, conventional Dense Medium Separation.
Preconcentration is a crucial step in the ore processing workflow, allowing for the removal of a significant portion of non-valuable material, ultimately improving overall efficiency. The successful preconcentration process has significantly reduced the Wet High-Intensity Magnetic Separator (WHIMS) needs by 70% compared to the existing design. This reduction in magnetic separation requirements is a substantial cost-saving measure, reducing both capital and operating expenditures. The feed mass entering the direct leaching process has been significantly reduced from 16% to 7%, representing a 56% reduction in material reporting to the leach circuits. This substantial reduction further enhances the efficiency of the leaching process and lowers operating costs. With these promising results in hand, ARL is now planning to implement these improvements into its flowsheet and scoping study. These findings not only enhance the overall efficiency of the ore processing workflow but also position ARL for cost savings and improved resource utilization in its rare earths extraction efforts.