IONIC TECHNOLOGIES BEGINS RARE EARTH OXIDES PRODUCTION AT BELFAST RECYCLING FACILITY
REO Production Begins at Belfast Recycling Facility
Perth, June 19, 2023 AEST (ABN Newswire) - The Board of Ionic Rare Earths Limited (ASX:IXR) (IXRRF:OTCMKTS) advises that production of high purity, recycled magnet rare earth oxides (REOs) has begun at the Demonstration Plant at Ionic Technologies International Ltd ("Ionic Technologies") Belfast facility in the UK.
- Production of recycled magnet Rare Earth Oxides (REOs) has started at Ionic Technologies Demonstration Plant in Belfast, UK;
- 4.2 kg of 99.7% grade of the light rare earth Neodymium Oxide (Nd2O3) produced;
- 0.6 kg of 99.8% grade of the heavy rare earth Dysprosium Oxide (Dy2O3) produced;
- Production milestone achieved in less than nine months after receiving UK Government support;
- Success supports further opportunities for commercialisation globally; and
- Ionic Technologies has "first mover" advantage in the recycling of separated magnet Rare Earth Oxides.
"Our Belfast facility is key to us harnessing our technology to accelerate our mining, refining and recycling of magnets and heavy rare earths which are critical for the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence," Tim Harrison, Managing Director at IonicRE, said.
"The commercialisation of our recycling technology and our focus on the delivery of the Makuutu Heavy Rare Earths Project in Uganda positions us to provide a secure, sustainable, and traceable supply of magnet REOs."
The Belfast facility is expected to receive a steady supply in magnets to be recycled from sources such as end-of-life turbines from grid scale wind farms and magnets and components from used electric vehicles and MRIs.
Mr Harrison commented further that "market analysts forecast the current US$3 billion global market for rare earth oxide magnets is expected to shortly be in deficit with estimates that the market would increase fivefold, to in excess of US$15 billion, by the end of the decade, with significant demand growth in the EU, north Asia, and the US."
"To help fill this deficit, IonicRE wants to accelerate its mining, refining and recycling to align with global policy priorities and off-taker objectives in order to enter these markets."
"IonicRE are planning to progress the technology with the deployment of modular recycling initiatives in markets looking to develop domestic, secure, and sustainable supply chains to address strategic supply and sovereign security, placing Europe at the epicentre of rare earth element recycling".
The products produced to date in Belfast during process commissioning include a selection of products which the Company has been targeted based upon potential supply chain partner requirements, including;
- 4.2 kg of Nd2O3 grading 99.7%, and ~0.3% Dy2O3 (total REO content of 99.99%); and
- 0.6 kg of Dy2O3 grading 99.8 % (total REO content of 99.9%).
The Company will now utilise these products and additional near-term production of NdPr oxide (didymium oxide) to progress further on more engagement with potential supply chain collaboration partnerships to explore commercial opportunities.
About the production of REOs at Ionic Technology:
Ionic Technologies is a 100% owned subsidiary based in Belfast UK, which the Company acquired in H1 2022. Ionic Technologies has developed rare earth element separation and refining technology and applied this to the recycling of spent permanent Neodymium-Iron-Boron (NdFeB) magnets.
The process uses a hydrometallurgical process to extract the rare earth elements (REE), then separate the individual magnet REEs within - Neodymium (Nd), Praseodymium (Pr), Dysprosium (Dy) and Terbium (Tb) - and finally refine to high purity individual magnet rare earths oxides (REO).
In September 2022, IonicTech was awarded a grant of GBP1.72 million (approximately A$2.9 million) from the UK Government's Innovate UK Automotive Transformation Fund Scale-up Readiness Validation (SuRV) program. This is a significant step towards securing the UK supply of critical rare earth metals for EV manufacture.
The magnet recycling Demonstration Plant will provide the data for the development of commercial facilities.
Ionic Technologies has an inventory of feedstock to support the Demonstration Plant trials, which currently sits at in excess of 50 tonnes of NdFeB permanent magnets and swarf material.
The Ionic Technologies magnet recycling process is agnostic on magnet quality, can process oxidised magnets, and can also manage coatings and films, to produce individually separated and refined high purity REOs.
Since its founding in 2015, as a spinout from Queens University Belfast (QUB), Ionic Technologies has developed processes for the separation and recovery of REEs from mining ore concentrates and waste permanent magnets.
The technology developed is a step up in efficient, non-hazardous, and economically viable processing with minimal environmental footprint.
Ionic Technologies has demonstrated capability for REEs to achieve near complete extraction of REO's from lower quality spent magnets and waste (swarf) to a recovery of high value magnet REO product quality exceeding 99.9% REO.
Ionic Technologies now has "first mover" advantage in the industrial elemental extraction of separated REOs from spent magnets and waste, enabling near term magnet REO production capability to satisfy growing demand from the energy transition, advanced manufacturing, and defence.
Ionic Technologies proprietary technology provides a universal method for the recovery of high purity grade rare earth elements from lower quality and variable grade magnets, to be used in the manufacture of modern high-performance and high specification permanent magnets required to support substantial growth in both electric vehicle (EV) and wind turbine deployment.
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About Ionic Rare Earths Limited
Ionic Rare Earths Limited (ASX:IXR) (OTCMKTS:IXRRF) is focused on developing its flagship Makuutu Rare Earths Project in Uganda into a significant long life, low-cost, supplier of high-value critical and heavy rare earths.
Makuutu is an advanced-stage, ionic adsorption clay-hosted project highlighted by near-surface mineralisation, significant exploration upside, excellent metallurgical characteristics and access to tier-one infrastructure.
The ionic adsorption clay-hosted geology at Makuutu is similar to major rare earths projects in Southern China, which are responsible for the majority of global supply of low cost heavy and critical rare earths, specifically the high value magnet metals (Dysprosium and Terbium) Heavy Rare Earths (>98% originating from ionic clays). Metallurgical testing at Makuutu has returned excellent recovery rates, which provide multiple avenues for a simple process route.
Makuutu is well-supported by tier-one existing infrastructure which includes access to major highways, roads, power, water and a professional workforce.
Rare Earths will play a critical role in the future of clean energy. Rare Earths are a key ingredient in the permanent magnets found in wind turbines and electric vehicles.
IonicRE is led by an experienced and proven team, who have the capabilities to deliver Makuutu into production and realise value for all stakeholders.
Ionic Rare Earths Limited