Certainly, Rare Earth Salts is already seeing support for its process. Back in October, the company signed a joint development agreement with one of the 10 largest mining companies in the world for the phased development of its plant. Kruse said via email that the company is in talks with several juniors from South America, Europe, North America and Australia."We hope to announce something official in the next 90 days or so around this," he stated. "We are also in talks with consumer product recyclers that produce a concentrate to process for them as well." Kruse wasn't able to divulge too much about how the process actually works, but he did state that it doesn't produce a hazardous waste stream as all material used in the process is recovered, recycled or removed. The CEO added that equipment for the process is readily available and has been industrially proven across multiple sectors, meaning it will incur lower capital costs and easier expansion. It's faster than traditional solvent extraction, and has so far resulted in purities of more than 99.995 percent. To top it off, the technology is efficient for different types of rare earths concentrates. "The process is not chemically dependent on a set type of concentrate makeup," explained Kruse, "[s]o we could have varying concentrates at any time come in, and it wouldn't affect our process efficiency." In terms of the cost of the process, Kruse pointed out that if Rare Earth Salts were to partner with a company or enter a toll agreement, the cost would be slightly higher than $4 per kilogram. However, he noted that even if the company hypothetically doubled its costs, it would still provide over a 50-percent reduction in concentrate for rare earths concentrate producers compared to prices being quoted in China or France.
"It may mean the difference in profitability for dozens of projects," he said. "We want to help the industry grow — including the resurgence of a Western supply chain."Securities Disclosure: I, Teresa Matich, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. Rare Earth Salts' Separation Process Could Be Key for Producers Outside China from Rare Earth Investing News