Halifax-based Ucore Rare Metals will begin commissioning its RapidSX rare earths elements separation facility in the January quarter.
It will be ready for commercial use and adaptation in the March quarter.
An independent third-party techno-economic study has been completed, as has the design of a commercial-scale REE separation facility, Ucore said. The third-party study was undertaken by Kingston Process Metallurgy to test extraction rates. KPM will release its study this month.
RapidSX technology was developed by Ucore subsidiary Innovation Metals. Innovation Metals has completed the initial design and layout of the individual column assemblies for the plant, as well as the pump and piping networks. Innovation Metals is in the final stages of selecting and producing parts of the instrumentation and controls system of the plant.
Working with KPM, Innovation Metals has also begun initial Hazard Identification and Analysis for the plant.
The plant will be located in Ucore's Alaska Strategic Metals Complex (SMC), which aims to produce individual rare-earth oxides by the first half of 2024, Ucore chief executive Pat Ryan said.
Innovation Metals has also been working with University of Toronto researchers to identify ways to reduce yttrium in heavy-REE-rich feedstocks, before feedstocks undergo the RapidSX process. Reducing yttrium will reduce processing costs and potentially the required plant size.
Feedstock will originate from Vital Metals' Nechalacho rare earths project in Canada's Northwest Territories.