EDITOR: | December 3rd, 2014 | 37 Comments

The Chinese rare earth tax and the separation technology revolution

| December 03, 2014 | 37 Comments
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Weslosky-Lifton-3December 3, 2014 — In a special InvestorIntel interview, the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Tracy Weslosky speaks with Jack Lifton, Founding Principal of Technology Metals Research, LLC talk about the new Chinese heavy rare earth tax rumor, the latest rare earth separation technology processes and the impact on the Chinese-Australian free trade agreement on the resource market.

Tracy Weslosky: I’m going to start first with that rumor that we had — in a story that we placed on our site where our Asian correspondent talks about a new heavy rare earth potential tax from the Chinese. We haven’t had anything like this since 2011, of course the markets went crazy. Talk to me about this. Do you think this is real?

Jack Lifton: Yes, I do. It’s the way that China has resolved the issue of how to conserve and protect its very limited heavy rare earth resources, which are so important. This is not a surprise to me. We did it to ourselves. We made it a big fuss about, well, there’s this and that and the Chinese have just reviewed their history of western capitalism. They said, oh — all we need to do is put a big export tax on, that’s okay. So, they did it. Look, they’ve been looking for a way to do this for four years. They will now do it.

Tracy Weslosky: Okay. If they’re going to do what they did in 2011 everybody should get ready for a very busy Christmas day because I believe they put that news out in 2011 on Christmas. Jumping next to other news, we have a lot of big news in the market. Of course, Ucore put out their, you know, revolutionary, what is it, molecular recognition technologies. Now I’m just  . . .

Jack Lifton: Right.

Tracy Weslosky: I’m just an investor. I don’t know what an MRT is. I need you to talk to me about that.

Jack Lifton: Well, let’s say that molecular recognition technology it is basically a way of separating metals from each other by utilizing chemicals, organic chemicals, that selectively bind to one or the another and then they can be separated and they can be then relieved of their burden of the specific metals. Now what I’m saying is there’s no way to explain this in a few moments and to people who don’t have the particular background. Just let me say this, all separation technologies are the same. They’re trying to separate things from each other that are closely related chemically. In the case of the rare earths, they’re the most closely related long string of elements in the periodic table. Very difficult to separate from each other. It can be done. It’s very expensive. The thrust of MRT, continuous ion exchange, accelerated solvent extraction, all of these technologies that are now underway is to lower the cost. The technology is to accomplish the same thing, separating the rare earths. It’s the cost that’s always been the issue, the enormous cost. I believe that we will see now in the next year to year and a half scale up of one or more of these technologies, rocketing down the cost and completely changing the landscape for junior rare earth companies.

To access the complete interview, click here


Tracy Weslosky

Editor:

Tracy Weslosky is the Founder and CEO of InvestorIntel Corp., a company that publishes InvestorIntel.com. A leading e-news source for investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>


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Comments

  • Black Heart Bart

    The key question is whether the new separation technology works when unscaled, because if it doesn’t then it will be a disaster for the companies involved and their shareholder.

    Tracy puts the view of a top expert forward at around the 3:12 mark of the video, compelling viewing in my opinion.

    Good luck with that one Jack.

    Great interview Tracy and Jack, thank you.

    December 3, 2014 - 6:07 PM

  • Alex

    The Ucore presentaion a Singapour Conference include
    Utilizing ore sorting and magnetic separation
    – Nitrio Acid Leach
    – MRT
    You ned to make nano-particles at Mining Works and big quantaties of HNO3 near Mining Works.
    This tecknology just able to get HREE Concentate at Mining Works and low cost of transportation.
    But problem of HREE – how to produce only Dy and Tb direct from ore

    December 4, 2014 - 2:54 AM

  • Mr.Jimmy

    I find it interesting that Geomega (GMA.v) is rarely mentioned on this site when it comes to REE separation? Am I mistaken in believing that they are the closest to accomplishing this great feat,as they have already proven separation of all REE in a single step using the Pearse technology? They are gearing up to Prototype stage and are way beyond Ucore and the other company you’ve mentioned. Hopefully we get a review from you Jack or Tracy in regards to Free Flow Electrophoresis and how it might be applied to separating rare earths. I’m sure it would interest a lot of REE investors.

    All the best,

    J

    December 4, 2014 - 12:32 PM

  • Tracy Weslosky

    Good afternoon Mr. Jimmy — Your allegations are incorrect. I have published more updates on GeoMegA than any other site on the world, bar none. An avid supporter and fan of Mr. Simon Britt, I just needed to correct you misinformation before thanking you.

    You are correct, we have not done an update on GeoMegA’s processing recently, and I will send Simon an email and see if he would like to do an interview on this topic.

    Thank you for reminding me on one of the excellent rare earth companies in Canada….and for visiting InvestorIntel!

    December 4, 2014 - 12:41 PM

  • Mr.Jimmy

    And thank you Tracy for so many excellent articles and keeping us all informed. Will be interesting to here what Simon or Kiril have to say about GMA going into 2015. Cheers. J

    December 4, 2014 - 12:49 PM

  • Mr. kean

    I I’ll pickup shares of Ucore in a few weeks at 13 cents. Tax loss season

    December 4, 2014 - 3:11 PM

  • Steve Mackowski

    For those of you who read my series on success factors, between the lines it was in disagreement with Jack’s comments on separation technology. Separation technology is well known and can be applied to all rare earth minerals. The cost is what it is. The new technologies may help to reduce cost but that will not be significant. It will not half the capex for example. The most important success factor is mineralogy and its influence on the beneficiation opportunity. If you take a Lynas-like project, 10,000 tpa of light REO, from a grade into the extraction plant of 40% REO, capex $1 billion. Compare this with project X with a grade of 10% REO. The processing plant has to be 4 times larger for the same output. At least twice the capex! Mineralogy is the key. So the next revolution in the REO space is not separation technology, it is having mineralogy capable of beneficiation to high grade of extraction plant feed. Hence my creation of a new basket price definition.

    December 4, 2014 - 6:08 PM

  • Lid

    Mr. Mackowski,
    I totally agree with you, and I always treasure every single article you wrote. you represent true professionals in this web.

    December 4, 2014 - 7:39 PM

  • merlion

    ”The cost is what it is.”
    —————————-
    Steve, the greater cost is environmental.

    Dr Luc Duchesne had this to say elsewhere on this blog.

    “The oft-cited reason for the hegemony of Chinese interests is the lack of environmental regulations regarding rare earth projects. In December 2012, the EPA published a damning report on the environmental footprint of rare earths (click here). For example, the REE separation and refining known as saponification had been used in China until recently, generating harmful wastewater. It was estimated that in 2005 alone, the process generated 20,000 to 25,000 tons of wastewater, with total ammonia nitrogen concentrations ranging from 300 mg/L to 5000 mg/L. At extreme ammonia levels, fish may experience convulsions, coma, and death. Experiments have shown that the lethal concentration for a variety of fish species ranges from 0.2 to 2.0 mg/l. Trout appear to be the most susceptible of these fish and carp the least susceptible. And so the dysprosium used in wind turbines and hybrid cars made a lot of fish go bellow up, a problem that MRT should resolve.”
    http://investorintel.wpengine.com/rare-earth-intel/ucore-brews-rare-earths-espresso-molecular-recognition-technology-greens-speeds-rare-earths-purification/

    December 4, 2014 - 8:21 PM

  • Lid

    Through thousands years of human history, men always seek a thing called magic wand. Science and technology proved that there isn’t this thing called magic wand. It is interesting that now men think science and technology is the magic wand. every time when a new tech is imminent, they believe it will solve all problems once for all, after it really reach the world, people find it is only a little better than the one before. then they believe the next one will be the magic wand. you know what, men never learn.

    December 4, 2014 - 8:44 PM

  • Steve Mackowski

    For the record. The environmental liability during REO processing comes mainly in the extraction stage. It is not in the separation section. So technology such as MRT still need the extraction stage and therefore there is likely to be little change to environmental liability. The extraction stage is the most critical and is why mineralogy controls the complexity of extraction. Once a clean REO concentrate enters separation, there is a low environmental liability. If InvestorIntel agrees, I can detail the mineralogy versus chemistry discussion next year. If you are in a hurry Wikipedia is helpful.

    December 5, 2014 - 1:28 AM

  • Alex

    I am desagree – miniralization is important but not the key factor.
    The price of mixed carbonate of REE has it value at the market.
    Now for instance 4 000 USD per tonne for LREE (Nd+Pr=20%) and HREE mixture – 30 000 USD per tonne.
    It is not important for Buyer how is mineralization or CAPEX of project – it is just market price.
    Those who can not sale on market price their product just died and their investments are just zero value.
    So, some projects which has use already working Plant and add some equipment for receiving HREE (I mean appatite rare-earth receiving on fertilizations Plants) is also possible , if they can compete with market prices.
    I belive most important to get profit from sales for any project, then big persentage of HREE at ore but no real production and sales of this project.

    December 5, 2014 - 4:47 AM

  • Steve Davies

    Steve,
    Great post,the exact reason why any mine with a mineralogy less than 1% rare earths will struggle to make it .
    They are not economical with the existing proven processing technologies, so the have to invent a new miracal way to process the ore to try to justify the projects economics.
    We will see if there mini pilot plants give the same results with these new processes.

    December 5, 2014 - 6:06 AM

  • freethinking

    yes … one would think that the Chinese would have already found a better way if it was possible

    December 5, 2014 - 8:36 AM

  • hackenzac

    Jack says these new technologies are going to “rocket down the cost” and Steve says that grade is king, these new technologies are going to make little difference on the CAPEX and that the critical control point on cost is in the concentrating before the leach circuit. Let’s consider by example a project like Round Top, Texas Rare Earth’s flag ship, one of Jack’s “Fab Four” with very low grade but a high skew towards the desirable CREO’s that is seemingly a poster child for or against the importance of one over the other, grade versus skew. According to Steve, a project like this has little chance but to Jack it’s at the top of the list. So which is it? Something to take in to account with Bokan that’s already on the table; their beneficiation with DEXRT and magnetic separation can concentrate by a magnitude of 4 times before the ore hits the H2NO3 leach circuit and through the implementation of MRT, proven with the PGM’s, they can achieve 99.99% HREO PLS while claiming that it reduces CAPEX significantly. Steve and Jack are in diametrically opposing camps on the matter as it boils down to grade versus skew. No offense but one of you two is standing more correct than the other. If grade is just so darn important, why isn’t Steenkampkraal near the top of the projects list and why is Round Top a favorite darling? You guys are in strong disagreement to my eye. Personally, I’m coming down on the side of American ingenuity and as for one thinking that if “there was a better way, the Chinese would have already found it”, let’s see their Nobel prizes in chemistry like the one received specifically for MRT, the technology we’re talking about here. They have a “better way” my foot but they do also prove the lowest “cost” (screw the water quality) viability of very low grade monzanite sands, another thing that Steve can explain.

    December 5, 2014 - 10:47 AM

  • Fixed

    GWMG is the most viable project out there bar none and they take all the way to the magnet pruducers we shall see right…lol…

    December 5, 2014 - 12:41 PM

  • Lid

    here is an article published in 2010.
    http://www.re-journal.com/en/guokanshow.asp?id=2437,
    China evaluated MRT 4 years before Ucore even start to think about testing it. after that long time evaluation, they still decided not to use it. even if initial cost is relatively low, but running cost is high, it will be hard to justify over long term, how much money can be mad at the end of the day is the very important factor.

    Metal separations of interest to the Chinese metallurgical industry

    S.R. Izatt, N.E. Izatt, R.L. Bruening
    IBC Advanced Technologies, Inc., 856 E. Utah Valley Drive, American Fork, UT 84003, U.S.A.

    Abstract:

    IBC Advanced Technologies’ Molecular Recognition Technology (MRT) SuperLig® products selectively and rapidly bind with target species enabling their selective removal from solutions. The MRT process can produce a high purity separation product of maximum added value at a competitive cost. SuperLig® products have high selectivity for many target species which can include metal ions, anions, and neutral molecules. In operation, the SuperLig® product is first placed in a packed column. A solution containing a mixture of the target spe-cies and other chemical species is then passed through the column. The target species is removed selectively by the SuperLig® product, the column is washed to remove residual feed solution, and the target species is recovered by a minimal quantity of eluent. The result is a pure and concentrated species that can be kept for its value or disposed of safely. The process is environmentally and ecologically friendly with no organic solvents being used. This paper provides a review of some examples of applications of MRT to separations of interest to the Chinese metallurgical industry. Included are several applications of MRT, including Pd separations from Pt metal refinery streams and low-grade spent catalyst wastes, Rh recovery from spent auto catalyst and other feeds, Re removal from selected impurity ions, Cd removal from Co electrolyte, Bi removal from Cu electrolyte, In and Ge separations from difficult matrices, and removal of bivalent first transition series and other metal ions from acid mine drainage (Berkeley Pit, Montana). Finally, the potential application of MRT to separations involving the re-covery of rare earth metals and Li from low-level waste solutions and end-of-life products is discussed.

    December 5, 2014 - 5:30 PM

  • freethinking

    thanks Lid,

    the key question now is “will MRT be viable long term”, especially given the Chinese walked away from it

    and “why did the Chinese walk away from it”

    December 5, 2014 - 6:49 PM

  • hackenzac

    They walked away because they’re not constrained by environmental ethics.

    December 5, 2014 - 7:10 PM

  • merlion

    There’s an axiom: monopolies don’t invest. They milk.
    If freethinking were paidthinking – rather than notthinking – then deepthinking would deliver the view the Chinese have not needed to re-invent the wheel with R&D. That capital is inserted downstream where more prodigious profit-making opportunities exist.

    December 5, 2014 - 7:13 PM

  • Steve Mackowski

    To Steve Davies.
    Steve, I have not said that grade is king, although if all other things are equal I would choose high grade to low grade. But the other things are never all equal. My articles on success factors were designed to highlight individually those factors that when used together make a project successful. It was never my intention to proclaim a single success factor as king.
    I created the new basket price model to highlight the significance of getting as high a value feed stock to the start of the hydrometallurgical plant as possible. This doesn’t preclude others from success. It is just harder.
    I also don’t say that those deposits at <1% TREO are doomed. If they beneficiate well, they can succeed. If they have very low cost processing, eg heap leaching, then they can also succeed.
    All of the factors have to be looked at and considered. This makes it very difficult to compare Project A against Project B when there are differences in mineralogy, grade, geopolitical etc etc. But that's the game we are in.

    December 5, 2014 - 7:36 PM

  • merlion

    For the wider record. An analogy: a man cannot walk. Doctor1 diagnoses a lesion (= ‘liability’) in the cranium. Doctor2 finds a lesion in the leg muscles. Doctor3 finds both as well as peer support. A fix is required for both lesions. Back to our RE world, doctor1 works on extraction. Doctor2 works on separation and purification.

    The Kinsela Capital Group says this about Solvent Extraction:
    “The time required for solvent extraction can vary widely; it can be very lengthy in some cases where materials need to be allowed to mix and sit for a time for the components to separate out. Complicating things even further, is that many of the chemicals used as well as some by-products of solvent extraction are extremely hazardous and must be handled (and disposed of) with great care.”

    Mitsubishi Quietly Cleans Up Its Former Refinery.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/business/energy-environment/09rareside.html?_r=0

    Lynas had to make a better mousetrap at its LAMP plant in Malaysia. In the pre-approval phase, greenies had this to say:
    “The proposed tailings ponds will also contain other process waste including residual solvents from the separation process. Some of this solvent waste will be entrained with the tailings.The separation process involves the use of solvent 596, solvent 184 (Trichloroethylene or TCE) and kerosene.
    Diluted solvents including Trichloroethylene (TCE) have been reported to penetrate the plastic liners of tailings ponds in days or weeks38 leading to potential groundwater contamination almost from the moment that the ponds are commissioned. Even an HDPE sheet 100 mm thick is penetrated by solvents in less than two weeks39. The HDPE sheets to be used at the LAMP tailings ponds will be 2mm thick.”

    No doubt, Lynas re-engineered the ponds.

    There’s a very useful place for Jim McKenzie’s mission at Ucore. We should encourage him to get on with it.

    December 5, 2014 - 7:50 PM

  • chris

    merlion

    Not sure where you source your info from but there was no such pre approval process that resulted in a redesign of the LAMP residue storage facilities.

    The anti Lynas groups copied the info from a blogger named Rachel who posted the info in 1992. Not sure how accurate the info was back then but I would suggest that comparing today’s HDPE liners with those from 1992 is just ridiculous.

    http://www.ejnet.org/rachel/rhwn316a.htm

    December 6, 2014 - 2:30 AM

  • Mr.Jimmy

    Geomega out of Quebec has filled patents world wide for their “Pearse technology” which is based off of “Free Flow Electrophoresis” and has successfully proven separation of ALL rare earth including heavies in a single step. 100% environmentaly friendly using no organic chemicals and ready to scale up to a prototype in 2015. I find it interesting that Ucore and their MRT tech gets all the attention when in fact they are light years behind GMA ? Some of you might want to do a bit of DD on the company as they are far ahead of the pack when it comes to REE separation. Looking forward to Tracy’s interview with the CEO shortly.
    More info here: http://investorintel.wpengine.com/rare-earth-news/geomega-resources-inc-separation-ree-impurities-commercial-mixed-concentrate/

    Mr.Jimmy

    December 6, 2014 - 11:01 AM

  • RareEarthGorilla

    After observing from the sidelines for many months I feel that it is time I start weighing in with a reality check. Please feel free to challenge any of my comments because what I have to say will only be backed by proven truths and not the misguided information most people are receiving through these internet discussions.

    Let me start by saying congratulations to all of the remaining REE companies who are actively trying to advance their projects. This is a small list and seemingly is getting smaller. If you are invested in a Rare Earth play without separating technology you are very behind.

    When Ucore came out with this news about MRT I was sceptical as many others are on this discussion board. I find it fascinating that so many “experts” are weighing in with so little knowledge of the subject.

    When you read the comment above from “Lid” that China has evaluated MRT and has since abandoned it, you will not find any documented evidence that this is a true statement. What is meant by evaluation? What was evaluated? What did “they” use to evaluate? There should be some kind of record of this, but there is no record because no evaluation was ever made. Do you think that a company like IBC is just going to share their patented process with China? Ridiculous.

    Besides Solvent Exchange, what other separation technology exists in the World today for Rare Earths? None. Which begs the question, why MRT? Nobody wants to hear about a new technology. This is the main point that distinguishes Ucore from the others. MRT is not new technology. Let me repeat that statement. MRT is not new technology. MRT is successfully being used in installations around the World and modifying the process to work for Rare Earths has already been proven. Bottom Line…MRT works and is a game changer. It has a long and successful track record. It is a disruptive technology that is little understood by most practitioners of REE separations because they are used to thinking about these separations from a completely different viewpoint. Jack said it very well, ” MRT is a technology the time for which has come.”

    – The Gorilla

    December 6, 2014 - 12:49 PM

  • Lid

    Gorilla, perhaps you need study a little about paten law.

    December 6, 2014 - 2:17 PM

  • Mr.Jimmy

    “Besides Solvent Exchange, what other separation technology exists in the World today for Rare Earths? None.”

    Gorilla, you and others need to educate yourselves about the Pearse tech and how it has successfully separated ALL rare earths in a single step. This site and posters contributing to it need to do a bit of DD on this groundbreaking technology and the benchmark results GMA.v has successfully achieved. This too is a tech that has been around for years but has only recently been attempted and applied to separating rare earths…….and it’s been achieved with 100% success. It’s a proven science.Why Jack continues to promote Ucore’s MRT , which is not even close to separation all rare earths, let alone in a single step,makes me slightly suspicious. It’s been six months since GMA’s benchmark results and still not a educated word from analysts on this site?? I find that totally bizarre?

    How about it Jack…..Free Flow Electrophoresis applied to separating rare earths. Could it be the answer? Or are you and others going to continue promoting a tech that’s far behind?

    Sorry if I’m coming across as being slightly abrasive as I do enjoy this site a great deal.

    Cheers,

    Mr.Jimmy

    December 6, 2014 - 3:31 PM

  • freethinking

    amazing, all these rare earth projects with wealth in the ground which can only be unlocked by using some special new amazing exotic technology which their promoters assure us works ….. and lets not forget the MRT devotees “it’s been around for years just not used on rare earths” – no prize for guessing why

    If it is as good as is now being promoted, why haven’t these companies progressed to production already. Big money likes to make money so why haven’t any of these companies found a backer.

    When reading such articles I am reminded of what Brent Cook has to say on the subject:-

    Beware of breakthroughs or special “proprietary” technology. Mining projects are risky enough without introducing experimental complex processes. If the study presumes a deposit’s riches are only recovered using some special recovery techniques, run away.

    Ask if the technology or equipment is, or has ever been, successfully used in a similar commercial operation.

    A common truism applies: “If it seems too good to be true, it is.”

    Item #10 is a symptom of a misdirected or sham study. Using exotic recovery processes to compensate for difficult metallurgy shows …….

    that’s enough perhaps even Brent is going a bit far now

    http://www.stocksandspeculations.com/i/pdf/268b_Mar3014_Tim_Oliver.pdf

    December 6, 2014 - 4:36 PM

    • Tracy Weslosky

      Bill. Thank you for commenting. Please keep in mind that Brent Cook is a professional associate of mine, but the article you reference is for investing in gold projects. The need for extraction techniques is critical for rare earths because it contributes to the overall OPEX costs for when the company is securing project financing. And yes, big money has aligned itself with several deals already; and we are covering these updates as they are formalized. We do represent a lot of Gold companies, but the rare earths sector is unique in that everyone has a different mixture of REEs and this makes the way they are extracted —- different. So I would argue that the piece you reference, while indeed shares some wisdom and is well-written: was not intended to cover the rare earths sector. If you like, I can prove this and will nail a quote from Brent when I call him next week, as he is on my to-do list….as rare earths are not his thing…..

      December 7, 2014 - 12:46 PM

  • Jack Lifton

    Mr Jimmy,

    Your abrasiveness is misplaced and should be directed at Geomega. I spoke to Geomega as recently as two weeks ago, and after hearing a general description of their separation technology I asked if I could visit their lab and see a bench scale demonstration. I was told that this would not be possible until sometime in the first quarter of 2015. Until then I cannot comment any further on their process, which I have neither seen in operation nor had explicated to me by a person familiar with it and willing to answer technical questions.

    Jack

    December 6, 2014 - 7:58 PM

  • Mr.Jimmy

    Thank you Jack. Far enough. We’ll see if we can get some answers once Tracy interviews Mr.Britt.

    Cheers

    December 6, 2014 - 9:50 PM

    • Tracy Weslosky

      Email was sent to Simon this AM requesting an interview on Tuesday. Please keep in mind they take 5-7 business days for editing and this is only ‘if’ Simon is available. I assure you that we will get an update as soon as possible, and I do have a backup idea as we work towards clarifying the points brought up in this debate.

      December 7, 2014 - 12:48 PM

  • RareEarthGorilla

    Lid, I’m not sure what you mean when you say I should study up on patent law. From what I can see on the IBC website, http://www.ibcmrt.com their process is heavily patented. We all know that patent law is not well observed in China. So why would anyone do their beta testing in that market? Also, we’re overlooking a huge factor in IBC’s favour. Their company was founded the year after the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the original researchers in MRT (1987). The IBC site says that the company took that Nobel winning research and they were the first to commercialize it. My research on the net shows that IBC is now the world leader in MRT (it appears the two are synonymous). No one else has more MRT installations worldwide. How’s that for trumping patents (which they already have in abundance)? You can’t get much more credibility than the highest prize in science at a world level.

    As Jack says, does GMA (Free Form Electropheresis) have such credentials? They haven’t even gotten out of the bench scale testing phase (talk about theoretical). IBC already has countless industrial scale installations at existing mines around the world, huge paying customers, and over a quarter century of experience. MRT is installed at one of the world’s largest refineries, Asarco’s copper smelter in Texas. It already separates PGM’s at numerous mines the world over. I’m told that PGM separation is a very similar problem to rare earth separation, since they occur as a group and are chemically similar. Again, I ask you, who else has such a truck load of experience in specialty metals separation?

    -The Gorilla

    December 7, 2014 - 11:43 AM

  • RareEarthGorilla

    Another thought: IBC is not a start-up, like GMA (as I’ve said). I talked to a Ucore rep last week, and they informed that IBC has a 13,000 sf facility in Utah for R&D and lab work (plus the production of custom ligands which are shipped worldwide), and an 80,000 sf facility in Houston for metal separation systems fabrication. This is not theoretical separation. It’s one of the world’s most proven methods of specialty metals separation. It hasn’t been deployed in the rare earth sector only because there’s been no demand to overthrow China until recently. Based on PGM experience, they have little doubt that the technology can be used to generate high purity rare earth salts. If they can do this at a pilot scale, this would be revolutionary, IMO. Only SX technology has done this so far (in China), and SX is hugely expensive and environmentally abusive.

    The world needs a better mouse trap for REE separation. The Critical Materials Institute in the US is spending a ton of money to solve this problem right now. Numerous companies, like GMA and Orbite have announced bench scale research to this end. Only IBC appears to already have real world bulk scale installations in similar separation species (like PGM’s).

    IMO, the sea change in REE separation may be at hand. GMA and RES have delivered a mixed concentrates at bench scale and so has Ucore (although Ucore’s is apparently a heavy ree concentrate, which is theoretically of greater value). What’s exciting about MRT is that it may be able to isolate high purity individual REE salts (it’s already been done with PGM’s on an MRT platform). If they can accomplish this, they will have done what no one else (other than the big dollar SX plants) have managed to do. I’m following this closely. Exciting stuff.

    -The Gorilla

    December 7, 2014 - 12:34 PM

  • Lid

    Gorilla, paten law does not prevent anybody to use it, it prevent people use it for free, myself is a paten holder, let me tell you a little about the paten law, when an entity applies paten in any country, it has to give enough information that any qualified person in the sector could perform the task, only one thing which is called “know how” can be kept for itself, if it keeps too much “know how”, it can not get paten, on the other hand, if you keep no “know how”, some smart people may over come you and develop further or better one. in your post, you said IBC would not share its so called secrete, that tells me you do not know much about paten law. regarding MRT, it is proven in many sectors, but not in REE, at least at this moment and in commercial scale. I would challenge you to give me an example that MRT is proven in commercial scale in REE. one thing many people always forget, All REE have special electron spin in their outmost layer, that contribute a lot difficulties to handle, to distinguish to each other.

    December 7, 2014 - 4:49 PM

  • Tracy Weslosky

    Jack Lifton has just posted a response to the above debate with:….Chinese chemistry history versus the global rare earth separation technology revolution of today | InvestorIntel http://bit.ly/160oIYv

    December 8, 2014 - 3:24 PM

  • Daniel

    US patent laws do not apply for consumption in Asia/Eurasian and Africa. The technology can be copied with no consequences selling to states that do not recognize US patents. By 2050 India and China will consume 4X(proportional GDP) the consumer goods requiring rare earth than the United States.

    December 8, 2014 - 5:46 PM

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