- Pilot plant testing of a lanthanum recovery circuit that resulted in a 99%-pure lanthanum oxide product, samples of which were promptly supplied to an interested party for evaluation; and
- Optimization, at bench-scale, of the recovery process that not only increased cerium removal to 99% using one mixer/settler but also separated the remaining rare earths into light rare earth (LRE) and heavy rare earth (HRE) baskets using only two mixer/settlers. The resulting LRE stream was 99.7% pure and consisted predominantly of lanthanum and didymium (neodymium and praseodymium). It is expected that using the LRE stream as feed for the lanthanum recovery module will produce both pure lanthanum and pure didymium products.
The Company has initiated discussions regarding application of its innovative separation technology to remove thorium from various mineral deposits and the use of its innovative stripping technology in certain commercial SX plants.Advantages of Patent-Pending, Zero-Discharge SX Separation Technology Pilot plant data indicates the following economic advantages of the new SX separation technology with regard to both capital and operating costs:
- Process improves upon conventional SX technology that is already used in numerous, commercial-scale operations;
- The number of mixer/settlers necessary for cerium and thorium removal is significantly less than traditional SX;
- The reduced mass going to advanced separation due to the early recovery of cerium and lanthanum is expected to improve the Project economics associated with recovering the more valuable rare earths;
- The efficiency of the stripping process represents a significant improvement over traditional SX, including the complete elimination of any acid-stripping mixer/settlers;
- Using commercially available reagents and no strong acids for stripping eliminates the need for a neutralization plant; and
- The ability to recycle the barren organic and stripping agent is expected to reduce raw material costs.
Forward Looking StatementsThis news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities legislation in the United States and Canada. Except for statements of historical fact, certain information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are usually identified by our use of certain terminology, including "will", "believes", "may", "expects", "should", "seeks", "anticipates", "plans", "has potential to", or "intends" or by discussions of strategy or intentions. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding current and expected future results of pilot plant test work and its economics, the potential for conducting further test work, timing of such test work and the results, if conducted, anticipated timing and outcome of our federal, state and local permitting efforts, and overall progress of the Bear Lodge Project. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results or achievements to be materially different from any future results or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the progress of our Bear Lodge Project, fluctuations in demand for, and price of, rare earth products; timing of and unexpected events at the Bear Lodge property; delay or failure to receive government approvals and permits; changes in U.S. and Canadian securities markets; our ability to obtain financing and general economic conditions. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting the Company will be those anticipated by management. Please refer to the discussion of these and other risk factors as set out in our filings made from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Canadian securities regulators, including without limitation, the Company's most recent reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q. We do not undertake to update any statements or estimates at any particular time or in response to any particular event, other than in accordance with applicable law. Investors and other should not assume that any forecasts in this news release represent management's estimates as of any date other than the date of this news release.