Ucore Successfully Separates Entire Suite of Individual Rare Earth Elements at High Purity
March 2, 2015 (Source: Marketwired) — Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSX VENTURE:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF) (“Ucore” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce that it has successfully separated each of the rare earth elements (“REE’s”) at high purity. Rare earth carbonates (“REC’s” or “Salts”) were produced from a pregnant leach solution (“PLS”) derived from Bokan Dotson-Ridge feedstock.
Utilizing a proprietary Molecular Recognition Technology (“MRT”) circuit developed by IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc. of American Fork, Utah (“IBC”), Ucore has successfully separated each individual REE with purity levels for all REE’s consistently meeting or exceeding 99% purity (see table below). The separation procedure, employing a customized SuperLig® hydrometallurgical process, was accomplished across the entire lanthanide suite, from lanthanum (La) to lutetium (Lu), inclusive, plus yttrium (Y) and scandium (Sc).
The testing was conducted on beneficiated material sourced from the Company’s Bokan Dotson-Ridge property in Southeast Alaska. The pregnant leach solution was prepared by Hazen Research, Inc. of Denver Colorado, using the metallurgical process outlined in the Company’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (see Ucore press release dated January 15, 2013).
Purity levels for the separated REE’s uniformly met or exceeded 99%, as summarized below:
|Rare Earth Element||Purity of Salts|
|Samarium (Sm) + Gadolinium (Gd)2||99.9%|
|1||Purity reported for solution prior to salt production; salt analysis pending.|
|2||Purity reported for combined salt; elements have been separated with individual salt analyses pending.|
“This is an impressive accomplishment, and one that Ucore has been pursuing for several years,” said Jim McKenzie, President & CEO of Ucore. “The separation of high purity REE’s, without the use of environmentally costly and capital intensive solvent extraction methodologies is a much sought after goal in the technology metals sector. MRT offers a means of separating REE’s to high purity in a rapid and cost effective manner, and with an exceptional level of selectivity and precision. Our great thanks to IBC’s President and CEO Steven R. Izatt and principal scientists Drs Reed M. Izatt, Ronald L. Bruening and Krzysztof E. Krakowiak for their commitment to this goal. An additional special word of thanks to Nobel Laureate Dr. Jean-Marie Lehn of the University of Strasbourg for his pioneering work in molecular recognition and his encouragement to Ucore and IBC through this important initiative.”
“It’s very gratifying to see the fruition of this work and achieve such a high level of success. It is exciting to think of the business opportunities this can create for Ucore and for Alaska,” said Ken Collison, COO of Ucore. “The underlying MRT technology, while new to the REE industry, has a lengthy history of success in mining, with IBC SuperLig® installations now active world-wide. We look forward to deploying MRT as an efficient means of REE separation.”
The REE separations occurred in a three step process, as illustrated below:
“Separation of REE’s from non-REE’s”
|Step 1||Individual Separations:
|Step 2||Group Separation of the Lights:
|Group Separation of the Heavies:
|Step 3||Individual Separations:
Greater than 99% of the REE’s, as a group, were recovered from the PLS. REE-selective proprietary SuperLig® resin products were used to separate the REE’s into a light plus yttrium (La, Pr, Nd + Y) group (“LREE + Y”); and a heavy + samarium (Sm-Lu) group (“HREE + Sm”) and to make individual selective separations of the REE’s in each group, as well as make earlier individual separations of Sc and Ce.
Elution of the bound REE’s, as groups or individuals, from the SuperLig® columns was accomplished by small amounts of eluent (acid). This technique produces concentrated solutions of the pure metal(s) for easy and economical salt production that is compatible with the Ucore flow sheet. Lower production costs are obtained by making rare earth carbonates (“REC’s”), which require minimal reagents and no heating. If desired, REC’s can easily be converted to rare earth oxides (“REO’s”) by heating. Full load, wash and elution cycles were performed.
IBC’s proprietary MRT processes provide commercially proven economic green chemistry approaches to selective metal separations in a variety of applications in the metals business. These processes have low energy requirements and meet or exceed increasingly stringent global environmental standards. For additional information on the MRT process, please see the following link: http://mrt.ucore.com
Steven R. Izatt, President and CEO of IBC, has approved the scientific and technical content of this news release and is the Qualified Person responsible for its accuracy. Mr. Izatt holds an M.S. in Chemical Engineering Practice and an M.S. in Technology and Policy, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
About Ucore Rare Metals Inc.
Ucore Rare Metals Inc. is a development-phase company focused on establishing rare metal resources with near term production potential. With multiple projects across North America, Ucore’s primary focus is the 100% owned Bokan – Dotson Ridge REE property in Alaska. The Bokan – Dotson Ridge REE project is located 60 km southwest of Ketchikan, Alaska and 140 km northwest of Prince Rupert, British Columbia and has direct ocean access to the western seaboard and the Pacific Rim, a significant advantage in developing near term production facilities and limiting the capital costs associated with mine construction.
This press release includes certain statements that may be deemed “forward-looking statements”. All statements in this release, other than statements of historical facts, that address future exploration drilling, exploration activities, development timelines, and events or developments that the Company expects, are forward looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include exploitation and exploration successes, continued availability of financing, and general economic, market or business conditions.
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