Innovation Metals today announced the completion by GENIVAR Inc. , the Company's engineering consultants, of a set of process flow diagrams ("PFDs") for the extraction and purification stages of IMC's future critical rare-earth element ("REE") separation facility (the "Facility"), to be located in Becancour, Quebec.
GENIVAR worked closely on this project with IMC's China-based REE separation consultants, an engineering group with extensive real-world expertise in REE separation facility design and operation. This work was undertaken as part of the prefeasibility study being conducted by GENIVAR for IMC.
Starting with a mixed REE carbonate feedstock, produced by blending individual feedstock received from various future REE producers, the process starts with an acid-leaching phase, to solubilize the REEs, followed by a cascade of separation stages based on solvent-extraction techniques. The result will be the formation of thirteen distinct high-purity rare-earth chloride products.
"This unique collaborative effort to develop the PFDs and associated mass-balance calculations for our Facility is ongoing," commented Gareth Hatch, President of IMC, "and is a critical part of IMC's strategy for the production of separated REEs in Quebec. Our two consulting groups are working closely together on the completion of the process-design work for the subsequent precipitation and calcination stages of the process to produce the final REE products."
Once completed, the full set of PFDs will be tested first at the bench scale, and subsequently in a pilot plant, to be constructed and operated in Quebec.
"Our announcement today marks an inflection point for the rare-earth industry outside of China," said Patrick Wong, CEO of IMC. "IMC is now one of very few companies outside of China with detailed quantitative designs for a critical REE separation plant. It will be the first centralized Facility of its kind available to future producers of critical REEs, for the development of marketable products by low-cost toll processing, and where end users can own separation capacity."