The frequently overlooked issue of how to process rare earths effectively remains at the crux of successful resource development outside China.
In Canada, the Avalon Rare Metals Inc. project has had to be rescheduled to allow additional time for processing development, while in Malaysia, the completion of Lynas Corp.s processing plant is being delayed by local concerns over waste disposal from the facility.
Such stories offer a clear message: underestimate processing at your peril.
This was the topic of the paper delivered by Edwin H Bentzen III, project manager for the US-based consultancy, Lyntek Inc., at the 21st Industrial Minerals Congress in Budapest in March.
Rare earths are vital for making a wide range of high-tech and green products including smartphones, iPods, wind turbines and electric cars. They are also used in oil refining and a range of other applications.
As demand from these sectors continues to increase,...