IM Rare Earths News in Brief 27 October – 2 November

By James Sean Dickson
Published: Monday, 02 November 2015

Peak begins pilot plant operation; GMEL receives positive results from pilot testing; Researchers identify new phosphors with lower rare earth consumption needs.

ASX-listed Peak Resources Ltd has begun pilot operation of its beneficiation flowsheet on a 66 tonne bulk sample of weathered bastnaesite rare earth ore from the Ngulla project in Tanzania.

The process consists of two-stage flotation with intermediate regrinding. Peak said that the flowsheet is simple, robust and effective as a means of achieving an up-to eight times concentration upgrade on the run of mine grade of rare earths.

ALS Metallurgy, previously known as Ammtec, was selected to pilot the plant. Work conducted during the piloting will be fed into Ngulla’s bankable feasibility study.

Also listed on the ASX, Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd (GMEL) has successfully completed refinery piloting for its Kvanefjeld project in Greenland.

Carried out in Finland by Outotec Pori Research Laboratories, an arm of Outotec Oyj, as part of the European Commission (EC)-funded EURARE programme, GMEL said that the research had resulted in outcomes consistent with, and in some cases exceeding, the feasibility design criteria.

Valuable operating data was collected, de-risking the atmospheric leach circuit, GMEL added. The company said that the work confirms the non-refractory minerals content of Kvanefjeld.

A total of around 25kg mixed rare earths carbonate was manufactured during the piloting.

Vancouver, Canada-based Medallion Resources Ltd has started providing product specification sheets and samples of its planned rare earth concentrates

"Most people are aware that we’re currently in a depressed market for rare earths. However, our model of using monazite sand, a by-product mineral feed that provides for low cost near term production, is attracting industry attention," Don Lay, Medallion’s CEO, said.

Medallion said that the monazite sand used during recent bench-scale metallurgical tests was purchased from a major heavy mineral sands (HMS) producer, though it did not specify the company.

"We aim to deliver quality rare earth concentrates to solvent extraction-based refineries. We’re also speaking to groups with alternative approaches that look to drive down rare earth separation costs versus Chinese producers," Lay added.

In Calgary, Alberta, Mkango Resources Ltd has been granted a renewal of two years on its exploration licence for the Thambani uranium anomalies in southwest Malawi.

Mkango said its planned dual listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) stock exchange in London is well advanced, with SP Angel appointed as nominated advisor and broker. SP Angel also recently went on a site visit to Mkango’s Songwe Hill rare earths project.

"Mkango believes that the dual listing will enable a broader access to capital and provide a stronger platform for development as the Songwe Hill rare earths project advances through the feasibility stage," Mkango said. The company continues to work on flowsheet optimisation.