Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from Coal Mining Waste Materials

Technology Partner: Inventure Renewables, Inc.Award Number: FE0030146
Project Duration: 9/1/2017 – 2/28/2019
Total Project Value: $1,250,000

Key Technology Area: Process Systems
Project Partners: K-Technologies, Inc.; Pennsylvania State University; and Texas Minerals Resources Corporation

This Phase 1 project will identify and characterize coal- related materials, and design and perform a techno- economic analysis for a self-contained, modular, and portable continuous ion exchange/continuous ion chromatography (CIX/CIC) pilot plant capable of processing and purifying rare earth elements (REEs). The process will combine chemical processing with physical beneficiation processes for providing a concentrated REEs leach liquor stream derived from clay-rich, co-produced coal materials such as those associated with overburden, and clay layers under or within a coal seam. After concentration, the REEs will be separated and purified into their individual elements

using CIX/CIC techniques. This project will also determine the economic viability of mining and processing REEs associated with Appalachian coal deposits. If successful, this Phase 1 project may continue into the next stage of development which includes installation, field-testing, and evaluation of the REE recovery technology. The expected outcomes of the project are (1) the production of REEs that are salable at an output of 10 pounds per day from coal by-products, (2) the development of a technology that is versatile and modular, (3) the preservation of mining jobs, and (4) a pathway to economic feasibility.

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