Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Deposit Produce >98% Rare Earth Oxide Product
- Category: tungsten‘s News
- Published on Thursday, 14 October 2021 21:21
Namibia Critical Metals Inc. (the "Company" or "NMI") is happy to provide the latest developments in the Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Deposit since the mining license was obtained in July this year, from the deposit, a market ready >98% rare earth oxide product has been successfully produced.
The Lofdal heavy rare earth deposit is one of only two primary xenon projects under development in the world. The deposit has the potential to produce dysprosium and terbium in large quantities, the two most valuable heavy rare earth elements used in high-energy magnets and other high-tech applications. The project was developed in a joint venture with Japan National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Metal Corporation ("JOGMEC") to provide Japan with a long-term and sustainable supply of heavy rare earths.
The company has successfully completed the hydrometallurgical test work and developed a process capable of producing high-grade rare earth oxide products from xenotime flotation concentrate. The company’s main metallurgical consultant in Canada’s SGS Mining Services Company has simplified the final process stage, using acid baking to crack the mineral xenotime, purify the leaching solution, and precipitate rare earth oxalate, which is subsequently calcined to form a product containing >98% total rare earth oxides (TREO).
The pickling process and simultaneous removal of impurities are very effective. In the leaching operation of the processing flow chart, the recovery rate of dysprosium and terbium reaches 95%. High-quality products contain almost no typical harmful elements such as thorium and uranium (<3 ppm U+Th combination).
Darrin Campbell, President of Namibia Critical Metals said: “These very positive test results are another important milestone for the Lofdal project and show that we are on the right track to determine that Lofdal can produce valuable heavy rare earth products. This will enable us to advance the latest assessment of large-scale and integrated rare earth production to produce high-purity rare earth oxides in Namibia. This will lead to further appreciation of Namibia and place the country on the map of the global rare earth supply strategy."
Two flotation concentrates produced by processing bulk samples from the Lofdal deposit were tested at the SGS laboratory in Lakefield, Ontario, to determine the potential to produce marketable rare earth products with minimal impurities. The previous hydrometallurgical testing work was mainly to conduct high-cost caustic cracking after gangue acid leaching. The comprehensive test work of SGS shows that the acid baking route is the first choice due to the lower reagent cost and the higher recovery rate of heavy rare earths.
In the entire test plan, a total of 12 acid baking and water immersion tests were completed to study the dissolution of rare earth elements (REE) and the behavior of gangue minerals by adding sulfuric acid at high temperatures (200-300°C). Add 1250 kg/ton of H2SO4 acid at 300°C, and then perform water leaching with 20% of the solid weight at 25°C, and the best results were obtained. Under these conditions, the test showed a very good REE recovery rate, the recovery rate of yttrium was 97-98%, the recovery rate of dysprosium was 95%, and the recovery rate of terbium was 94-95%.
The positive hydrometallurgical test results allow value-added planning in addition to the production of iso-bituminous coal concentrates at the Lofdal Heavy Rare Earth Deposit, providing a win-win situation for the country and the company.
The increase in water smelters will create more jobs in the Kunene region in southern Namibia and provide marketable rare earth oxide product for export, because rare earth oxalates with thorium and uranium content below 3 parts per million would be acceptable for import into Japan without restrictions or penalties.
JOGMEC is an independent administrative agency of the Japanese government. Among other things, it aims to ensure a stable supply of resources in Japan. JOGMEC has a good reputation as a long-term strategic partner of global mineral projects. JOGMEC's authorized responsibilities cover oil and gas, metals, coal and geothermal energy. JOGMEC promotes cooperation opportunities with Japanese private companies to ensure the supply of natural resources, thereby benefiting the country’s economic development.
Rare earths are vital to Japan's industrial interests, and JOGMEC has extensive experience in all aspects of this field. JOGMEC provided Lynas with a loan and equity of US$250 million in 2011 to ensure the supply of light rare earth metal kits from Japan Industries.
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