Rare Earth Expert Dr. David Dreisinger on Search Minerals Direct Extraction Process Technology
March 30, 2015 — Dr. David Dreisinger, Vice President and Director of Metallurgy for Search Minerals Inc. (TSXV: SMY) in an interview with Tracy Weslosky, Publisher for InvestorIntel speaks about developing critical rare earths assets in Labrador with Neodymium, Europium, Terbium, Dysprosium and Yttrium. Further to explaining the Search Minerals resource, Dr. Dreisinger discusses their patent pending for a direct extraction process technology.
Tracy Weslosky: I’m really excited about interviewing you, of course, have a doctorate in metallurgical engineering. Is that correct?
Dr. David Dreisinger: That’s correct. From Queen’s University in Kingston.
Tracy Weslosky: Okay so we have a metallurgy expert. That’s one of the hottest topics on InvestorIntel right now because everybody claims they have a process to extract rare earths. Of course, you’re with Search Minerals, right?
Dr. David Dreisinger: That’s correct.
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Tracy Weslosky: Can you start by telling us what Search Minerals has?
Dr. David Dreisinger: Search Minerals has done exploration in Labrador at three different sites, including the Port Hope Simpson Belt, the Red Wine Complex and also up in Strange Lake. The Port Hope Simpson area is a wholly owned area of investigation, of exploration. We’ve identified the Foxtrot deposit at that site, which we now have an indicated and inferred resource for, which we’ve been focusing our metallurgy development on.
Tracy Weslosky: Now your stock was up +14.50% in February and so we are very bullish on rare earths and you have a lot of heavy rare earths. Is that correct?
Dr. David Dreisinger: That’s correct. About 20% of our rare earths in our deposit are heavies, including the all-important dysprosium, which is very much in vogue in terms of the magnetic materials.
Tracy Weslosky: Yes. Dysprosium is definitely in vogue, but so tell me more about this. You have a patent pending?
Dr. David Dreisinger: Yes we do. We went through initial metallurgical development back in 2012 and did the classical upgrading to make a concentrate chemical treatment to extract the rare earths and made a rare earth — a mixed rare earth oxide as our final product and then realized that was probably too expensive to do all those different steps with our material. We went back and looked at it and tried to simplify the process and came up with a direct extraction method.
Tracy Weslosky: Can you tell us more?
Dr. David Dreisinger: I sure can. The direct extraction method, instead of crushing and grinding to very fine size our mineral, we basically just crush the material to a fairly coarse size, about 3 millimeters, and then we apply modest amounts of acid and heat that acid ore mixture to about 200 degrees Celsius, about the same temperature as cooking cookies in the oven at home. Then allow the acid to penetrate into the rock and make the rare earth minerals converted into water soluble form. It starts as a rare earth mineral that’s insoluble becomes soluble with the acid application. Then after water leaching the rare earths are extracted from the coarse rock into the solution from which we then recover our mixed rare earth product after some chemical purification steps.
Tracy Weslosky: Of course, if you’re an audience member of InvestorIntel you will appreciate that the extraction of rare earths is not like pulling gold from the ground. It’s very complex. What is your real competitive advantage with your particular process? If you can just dumb it down for me please.
Dr. David Dreisinger: We think that we’re both low-cost and also scalable…to access the rest of this interview, click here
Disclaimer: Search Minerals Inc. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel.
An accomplished entrepreneur and corporate finance professional, Tracy Weslosky is the CEO for InvestorIntel Corp. and the VP of Business Development for Bellotti Capital Partners ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>