Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is pleased to provide an update on the preparations for the SuperLig®-One rare earth separation pilot plant.
Approximately 40 tonnes of material sourced from the Company's flagship Bokan - Dotson Ridge ("Bokan") property was processed at Tomra Systems ASA ("Tomra") of Koblenz Germany utilizing DEXRT ore sorting technology ("DEXRT"). The DEXRT process resulted in approximately 19 tonnes of sorted rare earth bearing material. The Tomra work represents the first step in the Company's process flowsheet, delivering upgraded material that is consistent with prior test work, eliminating approximately 52% of the feed as waste while retaining 96% of the rare earth oxides (see Ucore Press Release dated June 25, 2013).
A 3 tonne bulk sample was split from the sorted material and has been shipped to SGS Lakefield Research Ltd ("SGS") of Lakefield, Ontario. SGS will utilize the circuit developed for the Company's Preliminary Economic Assessment ("PEA") which includes crushing, grinding and magnetic separation, followed by a nitric acid leach, to yield approximately 500 gallons of pregnant leach solution ("PLS"). In addition to delivering a PLS suitable for separation in the SuperLig®-One pilot facility, the SGS work will provide further independent confirmation of the process flowsheet set out in the PEA (see Ucore Press Release dated January 15, 2013).
The SuperLig®-One facility, currently being constructed by IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. ("IBC") at the Vineyard Business Park near Salt Lake City, Utah, is expected to be completed and ready for initial fluid testing in March 2016. Upon receipt from SGS, the Bokan PLS will undergo an initial test run followed by a production run commencing before the end of Q1 2016. The initial output product from the Superlig®-One pilot program will be critical heavy rare earth elements (often referred to as "H-CREO's") in the form of metal carbonates of dysprosium (Dy), terbium (Tb) and europium (Eu), scheduled for delivery in Q2 2016.
"We're excited to be in a position to demonstrate the use of the SuperLig® platform for the separation at pilot scale of such critically required military, technology and industrial metals", said Jim McKenzie, President and CEO of Ucore. "The maiden run of SuperLig®-One appears to represent the first time that strategic metals such as dysprosium, terbium and europium have been produced on US soil using American feedstock, both individually and at high purity. The use of a domestic intellectual property to produce critical domestic materials demonstrates an emerging ability to establish a stand-alone rare earth supply chain in the West, independent of increasingly unpredictable Chinese sources. The unveiling of SuperLig®-One ranks high on the list of Ucore's accomplishments to date, and we're proud to deliver this milestone to our shareholders and prospective customers."
The initial test phase of the SuperLig®-One facility has been engineered to accept REE feedstock from the US-based Bokan Project. Subject to modifications at the pre-processing stage, the pilot plant's modular design can be reconfigured to accept feedstock from alternative sources of rare earths and other metal feedstocks from potential sources around the globe.
Ken Collison, COO of Ucore, has approved the scientific and technical content of this news release and is the Qualified Person responsible for its accuracy.