Hexagon hails Ucore RapidSX REE pact
Sees Alaska SMC as vehicle to commercialize separation tech Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – February 19, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:20am
Hexagon Energy Materials Ltd., an Australian company that is investing US$6 million into furthering the development of RapidSX rare earth elements separation technology, Feb. 18 said it is pleased to see Ucore Rare Metals Inc. join the effort to advance this vital technology.
"Ucore's interest in and commitment to evaluating RapidSX is significant; they are a REE industry stalwart in the USA with an advanced project with US$145 million in designated financing from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA)", said Hexagon Energy Materials Managing Director Mike Rosenstreich.
Further details on potential investments into Ucore by AIDEA and the U.S. Department of Defense can be read at Alaska REE project draws Pentagon interest in the Feb. 12 edition of Metal Tech News.
Last week, Ucore announced that it has signed an agreement with Innovation Metals Corp. to test the potential of using RapidSX to separate rare earths and other critical metals at the Alaska Strategic Materials Complex (SMC), a separation facility the company plans to develop near its Bokan Mountain REE project in Southeast Alaska.
More information on RapidSX, Alaska SMC and Bokan Mountain can be found at Ucore eyes new SX rare earth separation in the current edition of Metal Tech News.
At the end of last year, Hexagon entered into an agreement with Innovation Metals to contribute its commercial and marketing skills, as well as invest US$6 million into furthering the advancement of RapidSX.
As a result, Hexagon would gain 49 percent ownership of American Innovation Metals, a joint venture company formed to commercialize RapidSX. Innovation Metals would own the remaining 51 percent.
Hexagon and Innovation Metals' vision to commercialize RapidSX could be realized at Ucore's Alaska SMC.
"Ucore brings a tremendous amount of third-party validation to RapidSX, underscoring Hexagon's focus on the commercialization of this important technology," said Rosenstreich. "Over the past several years, Ucore has evaluated a range of alternative REE-separation processes, resulting in the selection of solvent-extraction chemistry, which led to their interest in the proprietary RapidSX REE separation technology, offering significant CAPEX (capital expenditures) and OPEX (operational expenditures) savings compared to current conventional SX-based commercial REE separation."
In addition to future rare earth mines in Australia, Canada and the U.S., American Innovation said existing REE producers can integrate the addition of downstream separation to produce rare earth oxides. This would add to the value to the rare earth concentrates being recovered and would provide a critical non-Chinese source for these critical elements.
"The lack of US-based operational REE separation capacity presents a serious vulnerability to U.S. national and economic security and the security of its allies, as REEs are critical for defense technologies, electrification and U.S. economic growth plans," said Innovation Metals Chairman and CEO Gareth Hatch. "Without the downstream capacity to separate and purify REEs, the USA and its allies are vulnerable to potential supply disruptions, price spikes and trade disagreements related to REEs. It is our intention to remedy this situation with the successful commercialization of the RapidSX technology for processing and purifying REEs. IMC, with Hexagon, is very pleased to work with Ucore in its efforts to establish commercial REE separation capabilities on U.S. soil."