Metso tapped for REE pilot plant in Québec

Mining technology and service provider Metso has secured a deal to build an REE pilot plant for Torngat Metals.
Metso tapped for REE pilot plant in Québec Metso tapped for REE pilot plant in Québec Metso tapped for REE pilot plant in Québec Metso tapped for REE pilot plant in Québec Metso tapped for REE pilot plant in Québec

Metso will also collaborate with GTK Mintec on the project.

The large-volume pilot-scale plant will process ore from Torngat's Strange Lake REE project in northeastern Québec.

The trial process will utilise Metso's advanced technologies, including x-ray sensor-based ore sorting, magnetic separation, and flotation, to test the beneficiation of the ore.

The statement notes that Metso will also collaborate with GTK Mintec (Geological Survey of Finland) on the project.

"We are very pleased to expand this partnership with Metso, not only because of its world-leading mineral processing expertise and capabilities but also because of the values we share in our commitment to enabling sustainability and decarbonisation in our operations and in our communities," said Dirk Naumann, president and chief executive at Torngat.

Both companies anticipate the first phase of the pilot, including the production of rare earth concentrate, to be completed by the end of the year.

"The next phase of work will use the rare earth concentrate to scale up and optimise the subsequent process steps to produce a mixed rare earth solution, based on Metso's leading expertise in acid and heat-based minerals processing and purification," the company said.

Metso will also provide production scale engineering, technology, and equipment solutions for future commercial operations.

The Torngat news comes on the heels of Metso announcing it had signed a deal to supply technology for Blackstone Minerals' feasibility study on the pCAM (precursor cathode active material) processing plant at the Ta Khoa Refinery in Vietnam.

Some of the work will include validating the nickel and cobalt sulphates generated during the pilot program.

 We are confident that our experience in nickel processing and battery metals technologies will contribute positively to the project," said Rudi Rautenbach, director of minerals sales for Asia-Pacific at Metso.

Rautenbach added: "Many of our offerings that are planned to be used in this project are selected from our range of Planet Positive products, which are demonstrably more energy or water efficient than the industry benchmark or Metso's previous generation products in the market, to help our customers cut their CO2 emissions and/or to achieve other sustainability priorities."