The binding deal's goal is to assess RapidSX for REE concentrate material separation into high-purity REE oxides (REOs) originating at the Bokan-Dotson Ridge REE project, Ucore's flagship complex in Alaska, US.
It also will look at, and could include, other US allied-sourced, mixed REE sources that are available commercially and which are at or close to consideration for possible utilisation at the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex, a planned facility in the US.
Hexagon officials said the advancement of the TSA is thanks to Hexagon's teams in North America as well as Australia.
"Ucore's interest in and commitment to evaluating RapidSX is significant; they are a REE industry stalwart in the USA with an advanced project with US$145 million in designated financing from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) 2," Hexagon managing director Mike Rosenstreich said of the recent progress and the planned metals complex for the separation of high-purity REOs.
Ucore's support is "validation" for the RapidSX technology, which has led to the push for its commercialisation.
"With RapidSX, existing REE producers and project developers can integrate the addition of downstream REE separation to produce REOs, thus significantly increasing margins, saleable products and, most importantly — to effectively compete with Chinese operators."
Gareth Hatch, IMC chairman and CEO, added that the lack of a US-based operational REE separation facility in any capacity gives it a "serious vulnerability" in regards to economic security; REEs are being used more each day in defence technologies, electrification and the nation's economic growth plans.
"It is our intention to remedy this situation with the successful commercialisation of the RapidSX technology for processing and purifying REEs," he said. "IMC, with Hexagon, is very pleased to work with Ucore in its efforts to establish commercial REE separation capabilities on US soil."