Rare Earth Salts' Separation Process Could Be Key For Producers Outside China
Rare Earth Salts announced plans to commercialize its separations processing business last Thursday. The privately held company claims that its low-cost process could help producers compete with Chinese rare earths pricing.
Rare Earth Salts announced plans to commercialize its separations processing business last Thursday. The privately held company claims that its low-cost process could help producers compete with Chinese rare earths pricing. Competing with Chinese rare earths production costs is certainly a tall order for companies outside of the country. It's a challenge that many analysts have pegged as impossible, suggesting that end users will eventually choose to pay a premium for a secure supply of rare earths. Still, Rare Earth Salts believes that its process is environmentally friendly and will cost below $4 per kilogram. Indeed, company CEO Allen Kruse has said he thinks the technology is "the missing piece to the industry being successful in the Western World once again." "It will allow current rare earth concentrate producers and prospective producers to directly compete with, and be profitable at, Chinese domestic pricing," Kruse said in Thursday's release. The company claims to have defined a path to near-term production, and has commenced testing the flows and scalability of its proprietary separations technology. Those tests will facilitate the engineering and construction of a commercial production facility in Southeastern Nebraska, with the plant slated to process 10 tons of rare earths concentrate per month. For Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital, the Rare Earth Salts process is something worth looking at. While he told Resource Investing News it might be a slight stretch to say that the technology will allow every possible producer outside of China to be profitable at domestic Chinese pricing, Hykawy still said good things about the process. "[T]he Rare Earth Salts process seems to work, and it is very likely much less expensive than conventional separation using solvent extraction," he said. "For that reason, it is something that the industry, both inside and outside China, as well as interested investors, should be taking a close look at, and supporting."