Enabling Technologies

Enabling Technologies include resource identification, sampling, and characterization; techno-economic analysis; and field/process sensor development.

Significant progress in locating field sites and assessing the composition of potential coal and coal by-product materials containing REEs has been made. Efforts continue to focus on identifying the best source of materials to support future commercial REE production. Chemical and physical characterization efforts to determine REE elemental concentrations and phase compositions in coal and coal by- product resources are essential for developing viable REE separation processes.

Techno-economic analyses are being conducted to evaluate the international REE market demand and to assess the economics of commercially producing REEs from conventional separation as well as potentially new and

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advanced transformational separation processes. A preliminary high-level REE jobs analysis is being developed that includes an estimation of the economic impacts of constructing and operating a REE separations and processing facility (or facilities) in the United States.

Portable sensors for identifying promising REE coal-based resources in the field, as well as devices for determining REE concentrations in process separation flow streams, are being developed and evaluated. These technologies are tentatively scheduled to be field-tested at bench-scale separations test facilities and validated to commercial- ready status during use in pilot-scale demonstration projects. While significant progress has been made in identifying field site locations and assessing the composition of potential coal and coal by-product REE-containing materials, continued effort is essential to identify the best source of materials to support future commercial REE production. Chemical and physical characterization efforts addressing REE elemental concentrations and phase compositions in the coal and coal by-product resources are essential for developing viable REE separation processes.

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