Medallion Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: MDL; OTCQB: MLLOF; Frankfurt: MRDN) is pleased to announce the acquisition of a license for exclusive rights to Purdue University-developed rare earth element (REE) separation and purification technologies, from Hasler Ventures LLC. Medallion will further develop and commercialize this process technology which is complementary to the Company's existing business focus.
The license, acquired through Hasler Ventures LLC, provides Medallion with a portfolio of technology, patents, and knowhow for ligand-assisted displacement (LAD) chromatography to deploy in the separation and purification of rare earth elements (REE). The rights assigned by Hasler Ventures and granted by Purdue are exclusive and global for use with all minerals, mineral processing by-products and mining waste feedstock, excluding coal-sourced materials.
The LAD system, developed by Linda Wang, PhD, the Purdue Maxine Spencer Nichols Professor of Chemical Engineering, is built upon a well-understood and widely used platform that provides an environmentally sound method for REE separation with low technology risk.
"We believe this acquisition is a pivotal moment for Medallion, that will enable substantial downstream value to be added to our existing mineral sand monazite business model as well as deliver new opportunities for sub-licensing of REE separation technology to third parties," said Mark Saxon, Medallion President & CEO. "After extensive review ( September 25, 2020 ) of over 25 competing separation technologies we believe this LAD technology has the potential to be REE-industry changing, and will become an important part of Medallion's rare earth element processing capability. We are excited to be working with Linda Wang and her Purdue team."
A license for the parallel application of LAD technology for coal and coal-sourced waste materials, REE magnets and batteries was signed with American Resources Corporation (NASDAQ: AREC ) and announced February 2, 2021.
Medallion's licensing for the Purdue LAD technology was acquired February 17, 2020 and is through a collaboration with Hasler Ventures LLC. Hasler Ventures was formed by Dan Hasler, who retired from Purdue in March 2020. At that time, Hasler Ventures optioned the LAD technology. Hasler served Purdue as executive vice president for communications and previously served five years as president of Purdue Research Foundation, where he became familiar with Wang's work.
"Linda and her colleagues have dedicated decades of research to developing this process and her effort and innovation has delivered one of the most promising and environmentally safe methods to separate and purify rare earth elements," Hasler said. "This LAD technology could enable the U.S. to more safely utilize these critical resources from domestic sources and aligned nations, rather than remaining reliant on Chinese suppliers and high-environmental impact solvent-based processes."
Rare earth elements include the 15 elements in the lanthanide series plus scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y). They are essential ingredients for magnets, metal alloys, polishing powders, catalysts, ceramics, and phosphors, which are important for high technology and clean energy applications. The global REE market is estimated at $US4 billion annually and growing at about 8% per year (Research and Markets estimates, January 6, 2021).
LAD Chromatography Technology
LAD chromatography was designed as a greener REE extraction and purification process compared to conventional solvent-based separation methods and aligns well with Medallion's strategy of providing technology solutions that minimize the environmental footprint. The LAD method operates in aqueous solutions and delivers high yield while supporting superior chemical recycling, excellent productivity, and efficiency without harsh or toxic chemicals. The system design is fully scalable and can expand in line with production or demand requirements.
Wang's LAD technology was highlighted in a Journal Green Chemistry paper in 2020, entitled "Two-zone ligand-assisted displacement chromatography for producing high-purity praseodymium, neodymium, and dysprosium with high yield and high productivity from crude mixtures derived from waste magnets." This research, which has been applied to primary raw material feedstock, has provided high-purity (>99%) Nd, Pr, and Dy with high yields (>99%) and with productivity exceeding 100x the existing market-leading technology.
As part of the exclusive patent license for its fields of use, Medallion has committed to a three-year US$150,000 per annum sponsored research program with Purdue University to further advance the technologies, and achieve various technical milestones including operation of a demonstration plant. On commercial operation, royalty fees or sub-license fees will be payable at standard industry rates.
Dan Hasler will join Medallion's Advisory Board and represent Medallion Resources in sub-licensing and partnership opportunities. In connection with the transaction, Medallion entered into a license transfer agreement with Hasler Ventures pursuant to which Hasler Ventures agreed to transfer all of its interest in the license to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Medallion in consideration for, in part, one million fully paid shares in Medallion Resources Ltd to be issued to Hasler Ventures or its nominee on closing of the transaction. The transaction and the issuance of shares is subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval. The shares to be issued will be subject to a four-month hold period in accordance with applicable securities laws.
Medallion's REE Production Approach
Rare earth element demand growth is closely linked to low-carbon emitting technologies, including wind energy and electromobility where efficiency is enabled by high-strength REE permanent magnets.
The company has developed the Medallion Monazite Process , a proprietary method and related business model to achieve low-cost, near-term, REE production utilizing mineral sand monazite. Monazite is a rare earth phosphate mineral globally available as a by-product from heavy mineral sand-mining operations.
The Medallion Monazite Process was developed utilizing "best available technology" (BAT) principles and is consequently a highly optimized and automated design that is transferable in location and scalable in size as REE demand grows. The process reflects the current and future expectations of REE customers in the rapidly growing electric vehicle and wind energy markets by providing the lowest impact, most sustainable and resource efficient primary raw material sourcing available.
The Medallion Monazite Process utilizes by-product materials that presently pass to waste in the mineral sand industry, or to Chinese customers, and therefore additional mining is not required. The process produces zero liquid waste, has a high degree of energy and chemical reuse and regeneration, and can convert greater than 95% of monazite feed to commercial REE and phosphate products.
As announced 25 September 2020, Medallion completed an independent comparative study of the various opportunities in REE separation, led by Dr. Dag Eriksen and Dr. Kurt Forrester. The review focused on identifying a technically and economically attractive separation method to be paired with the Medallion Monazite Process , while seeking a lower environmental impact compared to conventional solvent-based extraction methods. Some 25 different technology and business opportunities were reviewed and ranked, resulting in the current decision to invest in LAD chromatography in partnership with Purdue University.
Figure 1: Rare Earth Element Magnet Supply Chain Utilizing the Medallion Monazite Process and Purdue's LAD Chromatography
Monazite is used today as a source of REEs in both China and India, where it is considered an attractive feedstock due to its high REE content (up to 65% REE by weight) and the relatively high abundance of the magnet metals neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr).
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today's toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu .
About Hasler Ventures LLC
Hasler Ventures believes that the key to a secure domestic supply chain of rare-earth metals and strategic independence in rare-earth metals from China is the ability to separate, and purify in an economical, environmentally friendly way. Purdue University invented and patented Ligand-Assisted Displacement Chromatography offers this capability to U.S producers of both recycled and ore-sourced rare-earth metals.
About Medallion Resources
Medallion Resources (TSX-V: MDL; OTCPK: MLLOF; Frankfurt: MRDN) has developed a proprietary process and related business model to achieve low-cost, near-term, rare-earth element (REE) production by exploiting monazite. Monazite is a rare-earth phosphate mineral that is widely available as a by-product from mineral sand mining operations. REEs are critical inputs to electric and hybrid vehicles, electronics, imaging systems, wind turbines and strategic defense systems. Medallion is committed to following best practices and accepted international standards in all aspects of mineral transportation, processing, and the safe management of waste materials.
Mark Saxon , President and CEO
Donald Lay , Director and Vice President, Corporate Development
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Medallion management takes full responsibility for content and has prepared this news release. Some of the statements contained in this release are forward-looking statements, such as statements that describe Medallion's plans with respect to the license for the LAD technology, the future potential of the LAD technology, the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange to the transaction and the issuance of shares and Medallion's future REE production approach. Since forward-looking statements address future events and conditions, by their very nature, they involve inherent risks and uncertainties, including the risks related to market conditions and regulatory approval and other risks outlined in the company's management discussions and analysis of financial results. Actual results in each case could differ materially from those currently anticipated in these statements. These forward- looking statements are based on a number of assumptions which may prove to be incorrect including, but not limited, the future potential of the LAD technology and the TSX Venture Exchange approving the transaction and the issuance of shares. In addition, in order to proceed with Medallion's plans, additional funding will be necessary and, depending on market conditions, this funding may not be forthcoming on a schedule or on terms that facilitate Medallion's plans. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and, other than as required by applicable securities laws, Medallion disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise.