The Race to Find Rare Earth Bearing Clay Outside of China

- July 25th, 2011

The race is on to find, and bring to production, rare earth mines outside of China, and the competition is being pushed by both governments and companies looking to secure a long-term stable supply of much needed rare earths.

By Leia Toovey- Exclusive to Rare Earth Investing News

The term “rare earth” is an oxymoron. In terms of their presence in the earth’s crust, rare earths are not actually rare. However, they are very difficult to process– a fact that has resulted in constrained supplies. Rare earths have different sources, including: bastnäsite, monazite, xenotime and ion-adsorption clays.

Ion-adsorption clays

The different ore types are sources of different rare earths, with bastnäsite and monazite providing the “light rare earths” and xenotime and ion-adsorption clays supplying the “heavy rare earths”. Ion-adsorption clays are considered an “ideal” source of rare earths due to the fact that they are easier to process. In processing ion-adsorption clays, the “cracking” step required in the processing of the other ores can be omitted. Furthermore, ion-adsorption clays can be produced with just an aqueous solution, therefore, gravity separation, magnetic separation and froth flotation processes may be skipped. Not only is the overall refining easier, it is more economical and more environmentally friendly.

China’s monopoly

So far, ion-adsorption clays have only been processed in China, a fact that contributes to the country’s monopoly on the rare earths market. China was able to position itself as the leader of the rare earth’s market back in the 1980s, when the cheap refining costs involved in the processing of the ion-adsorption clays rendered most global operations uneconomical.

To date, China controls approximately 97 percent of rare earth supplies and is currently slashing exports in order to satisfy its domestic demand, a fact that has caused the price of rare earths to skyrocket. The supply chain for rare earths is expected to experience further tightening in the coming years due to increased demand from green technologies. Even if the world could rely on China for its rare earths, which it cannot, there is an immediate need for new supplies due to declining production out of China. According to the USGS Chinese production of rare earth oxides peaked in 2006. Despite the obvious need for more rare earth mines around the world there are very few known projects.

Bringing online new rare earth supplies

Just like any mining endeavor, there are constraints; political, economic, and geological involved in bringing online new rare earth supplies. Right now, there are few political constraints, and mostly political motivation for countries around the world to uncover and bring to market new supplies to reduce their reliance on China.

In terms of geological constraints, the distribution of rare earth bearing clay is restricted to interior and marginal regions of continents, especially Precambrian cratons and shields, or related to large-scale rift structures. Areas with this geology include the East African rift zones, northern Scandinavia-Kola peninsula, and eastern Canada and southern Brazil. Rare earth element reserves and resources are found in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Missouri, Utah, and Wyoming.  Attractive target areas for  rare earth element development include Strange Lake and Thor Lake in Canada; Karonga, Burundi, and Wigu Hill in southern Tanzania.

New processing technologies

The third, and perhaps the most significant constraint in the rare earth supply chain is the technological constraints. With today’s technology, rare earth processing is expensive, but the improvement of processing technology could lift this constraint and completely change the supply-side dynamics of the rare earth industry. The research work of Canadian company Exploration Orbite (TSXV:ORT.A) is opening up the possibilities in extracting rare earths from clays and other minerals. Orbite has filed a few patent applications for technology that it claims could be a break-through tool at extracting rare earths from various minerals. The patents cover techniques that will not only enable the extraction of rare earths from clays, but also, other minerals. Orbite is developing this new technology through work on its Grande-Vallée property in Quebec.

Orbite came-upon the technique through its study on a cost-effective means to refine alumina from aluminous clay. While it has long been known that alumina can be refined from aluminous clay, an efficient and cost-effective process has proved elusive. In addition to producing metallurgical grade alumina, the same Orbite process can yield high-purity alumina as well as high-value elements and rare earths.

The race is on to find, and bring to production, rare earth mines outside of China, and the competition is being pushed by both governments and companies looking to secure a long-term stable supply of much needed rare earths. There are two new mines, outside of China, set to come online in the near future.  Molycorp (NYSE:MCP), based in the United States, and Australia’s Lynas Corp. (ASX:LYC).

 

 

Get the latest Rare Earth Investing stock information

Get the latest information about companies associated with Rare Earth Investing Delivered directly to your inbox.

Rare Earth Investing

Select None
Select All

2 responses to “The Race to Find Rare Earth Bearing Clay Outside of China

  1. Dear colleagues, the situation today with the rare earth metals has
    put manufacturers of electronics and equipment for green energy,
    depending on the political leadership of China. Major corporations are
    forced to seek alternative suppliers. We consider all the options from
    the recovery of previously closed due to non-profitability of plants
    to develop new fields.
    For example, such plans in Canada and the USA.
    Often the content of rare earth metals in the ore of new deposits is
    lower than in the industrial waste of metallurgical plants accumulated
    in the first half and middle of 20 century in the mills of the former
    Soviet Union. Not a perfect technology that existed in the enterprises
    are not allowed to extract rare earth metals from ore, and all of them
    remained in the waste. In fact, today these wastes – “concentrate”
    rare earth metal. The volume of this waste – tens of millions of tons.
    It is also important that:
    • Wastes are readily available they do not need to extract and transport.
    • Plants that would not pay huge fines for environmental damage and
    not to fund work on recycling the waste transferred to the ownership
    of municipalities. In the municipalities do not have funds for
    disposal of these wastes and they are ready to cooperate with the
    proposers of decommissioning projects. This allows you to cheap raw
    materials for a long time.
    Our company’s specialists have developed technology that allows
    processing of industrial waste and get rare metals.
    We appeal to interested investors – we need venture capital financing
    in the amount – $ 2.5 million. Funding necessary to complete work on
    the technology and manufacturing pilot plant. Investment we are
    attracting the term – 1 6 months.
    All those interested in providing financing, please contact by e-mail
    – vladimirkarasev1@gmail.com

    GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT OUR TECHNOLOGY – The technology incorporated
    most successful in the world today the decision of the production of
    ferrous, nonferrous, rare metals and preparation of nuclear fuel as
    pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical processing, and
    and our radically new method.
    On our technology
    extracted all the metals that are in the raw material for one cycle in the form
    individual metal powders. According to the known technology today –
    only one metal or more.
    Even the processing of “poor” (% contents of individual metals in raw
    materials), but the “rich” (in terms of different metals in the feed)
    for this technology – it
    to super production.
    For example, aluminum production (in
    Compared with the conventional technology on the principle of Faraday) in our
    technology more attractive than from the salt melt.Aluminum can
    receive from any aluminum-containing raw materials (including industrial waste)
    with much less energy consumption, multifunctional.
    On our technology cleaner production – no
    fluoride emissions, degradation products of anode paste and dusting
    supply of raw materials in the cell, causing severe disease.
    Technology saves electrical energy and resources, all reagents are
    regenerated and
    reused, virtually no emissions and waste.
    In some cases, depending on geological conditions of occurrence
    natural resources, possibly underground leaching (extraction)
    metals without excavation and rock material breach of integrity
    earth’s surface. After many years of accumulated research and
    systematized information on reserves of ore, silica,
    chemistry of natural and man-made regional raw materials
    using data geolkomov Kuzbass, Khakassia, Tuva, a number of
    institutions and others from the standpoint of business. Brief essence
    technology – selective non-waste production of a comprehensive
    kinds of metals from raw materials for one cycle in the form of individual
    energy-ultrafine metal crystals with a purity
    more than 99,9%. Cost not more than $ 270 per ton, regardless of the form
    allocated to the metal. Possible options for the production of filamentous
    crystals and so-called “small particles” with special
    properties, as well as metals of high purity. Any mineral
    metal-containing raw materials consist of metals and nonmetals
    (Metalloids), various minerals, soluble and insoluble
    various solvents. In our case, all the metals are transferred to
    solution in any sequence are extracted, and from the insoluble
    Conventional acids silicate residue (sand) in the form of silicon dioxide,
    diopside, etc. depending on the feedstock used, after washing
    Produced commercial powder. Silicate residue feedstock in the form of commodity
    powder at a cost of $ 4 per ton can be used in concrete,
    glass, ceramics, production of semiconductor silicon, etc.
    Thus, the raw material (ore, industrial waste) can be used
    non-waste.
    APPLICATION – in metallurgy total and low-temperature powder with
    give a strong and lightweight technical details (because
    energy saturation and filamentary metals produced)
    machinery, aircraft, electronics and catalysis.
    Whiskers and small metal particles “(used for example in aircraft
    stealth-type” Stels “) may be used in
    Spetstekhnologia. This nanotechnology. Metals in high purity
    alternative energy, such as environmentally safe receipt
    high-purity silicon metal with a lower cost for
    solar panels. For example, it is advantageous to obtain a direct separation of
    metals from two commercial concentrates our neighbors Sora
    Molybdenum Combine Khakassia, avoiding complex and expensive
    production stages in Chelyabinsk – molybdenum, copper, tin,
    rhenium, osmium, lead, silver, gold ……… etc., which are in
    concentrates.
    There are prerequisites for applying the method in studies on
    the hydrogen motor fuel.
    The technology – the project is recommended as an alternative
    highly profitable model of balanced use of mineral
    minerals and waste already accumulated tonnage of industrial
    waste, and the key output
    from the state of environmental 

     Respect  JSC URALSERVIS GROUP(SOLARUS ENERGY Ltd)
    VLADIMIR KARASEV Email: vladimirkarasev1@gmail.com

  2. Dear colleagues, the situation today with the rare earth metals has
    put manufacturers of electronics and equipment for green energy,
    depending on the political leadership of China. Major corporations are
    forced to seek alternative suppliers. We consider all the options from
    the recovery of previously closed due to non-profitability of plants
    to develop new fields.
    For example, such plans in Canada and the USA.
    Often the content of rare earth metals in the ore of new deposits is
    lower than in the industrial waste of metallurgical plants accumulated
    in the first half and middle of 20 century in the mills of the former
    Soviet Union. Not a perfect technology that existed in the enterprises
    are not allowed to extract rare earth metals from ore, and all of them
    remained in the waste. In fact, today these wastes – “concentrate”
    rare earth metal. The volume of this waste – tens of millions of tons.
    It is also important that:
    • Wastes are readily available they do not need to extract and transport.
    • Plants that would not pay huge fines for environmental damage and
    not to fund work on recycling the waste transferred to the ownership
    of municipalities. In the municipalities do not have funds for
    disposal of these wastes and they are ready to cooperate with the
    proposers of decommissioning projects. This allows you to cheap raw
    materials for a long time.
    Our company’s specialists have developed technology that allows
    processing of industrial waste and get rare metals.
    We appeal to interested investors – we need venture capital financing
    in the amount – $ 2.5 million. Funding necessary to complete work on
    the technology and manufacturing pilot plant. Investment we are
    attracting the term – 1 6 months.
    All those interested in providing financing, please contact by e-mail
    – vladimirkarasev1@gmail.com

    GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT OUR TECHNOLOGY – The technology incorporated
    most successful in the world today the decision of the production of
    ferrous, nonferrous, rare metals and preparation of nuclear fuel as
    pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical processing, and
    and our radically new method.
    On our technology
    extracted all the metals that are in the raw material for one cycle in the form
    individual metal powders. According to the known technology today –
    only one metal or more.
    Even the processing of “poor” (% contents of individual metals in raw
    materials), but the “rich” (in terms of different metals in the feed)
    for this technology – it
    to super production.
    For example, aluminum production (in
    Compared with the conventional technology on the principle of Faraday) in our
    technology more attractive than from the salt melt.Aluminum can
    receive from any aluminum-containing raw materials (including industrial waste)
    with much less energy consumption, multifunctional.
    On our technology cleaner production – no
    fluoride emissions, degradation products of anode paste and dusting
    supply of raw materials in the cell, causing severe disease.
    Technology saves electrical energy and resources, all reagents are
    regenerated and
    reused, virtually no emissions and waste.
    In some cases, depending on geological conditions of occurrence
    natural resources, possibly underground leaching (extraction)
    metals without excavation and rock material breach of integrity
    earth’s surface. After many years of accumulated research and
    systematized information on reserves of ore, silica,
    chemistry of natural and man-made regional raw materials
    using data geolkomov Kuzbass, Khakassia, Tuva, a number of
    institutions and others from the standpoint of business. Brief essence
    technology – selective non-waste production of a comprehensive
    kinds of metals from raw materials for one cycle in the form of individual
    energy-ultrafine metal crystals with a purity
    more than 99,9%. Cost not more than $ 270 per ton, regardless of the form
    allocated to the metal. Possible options for the production of filamentous
    crystals and so-called “small particles” with special
    properties, as well as metals of high purity. Any mineral
    metal-containing raw materials consist of metals and nonmetals
    (Metalloids), various minerals, soluble and insoluble
    various solvents. In our case, all the metals are transferred to
    solution in any sequence are extracted, and from the insoluble
    Conventional acids silicate residue (sand) in the form of silicon dioxide,
    diopside, etc. depending on the feedstock used, after washing
    Produced commercial powder. Silicate residue feedstock in the form of commodity
    powder at a cost of $ 4 per ton can be used in concrete,
    glass, ceramics, production of semiconductor silicon, etc.
    Thus, the raw material (ore, industrial waste) can be used
    non-waste.
    APPLICATION – in metallurgy total and low-temperature powder with
    give a strong and lightweight technical details (because
    energy saturation and filamentary metals produced)
    machinery, aircraft, electronics and catalysis.
    Whiskers and small metal particles “(used for example in aircraft
    stealth-type” Stels “) may be used in
    Spetstekhnologia. This nanotechnology. Metals in high purity
    alternative energy, such as environmentally safe receipt
    high-purity silicon metal with a lower cost for
    solar panels. For example, it is advantageous to obtain a direct separation of
    metals from two commercial concentrates our neighbors Sora
    Molybdenum Combine Khakassia, avoiding complex and expensive
    production stages in Chelyabinsk – molybdenum, copper, tin,
    rhenium, osmium, lead, silver, gold ……… etc., which are in
    concentrates.
    There are prerequisites for applying the method in studies on
    the hydrogen motor fuel.
    The technology – the project is recommended as an alternative
    highly profitable model of balanced use of mineral
    minerals and waste already accumulated tonnage of industrial
    waste, and the key output
    from the state of environmental 

     Respect  JSC URALSERVIS GROUP(SOLARUS ENERGY Ltd)
    VLADIMIR KARASEV Email: vladimirkarasev1@gmail.com

Leave a Reply