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The Rare Earths Mine That Won’t Need a Single Shovel

Yusuf Khan of The Wall Street Journal reports on a critical mineral discovery in South Africa.

The C3 Take
  • Rainbow Rare Earths has stumbled upon a treasure trove of rare earth minerals at two gypsum waste piles in South Africa.
  • These waste piles are estimated to contain more than $1 billion worth of rare earth minerals.
  • Importantly, accessing these metals will not require any digging which significantly reduces extraction costs and accelerates project timeline.
  • Thus far Rainbow has produced low value rare earths (rare-earth carbonate) but has plans to process them to create magnets.

“However, Rainbow is now working with K-Tech, a Lakeland, Fla.-based chemical technology firm, on a novel approach to processing the rare earths further into more valuable rare-earth oxides. It is testing out a faster, more environmentally friendly way, known as continuous-ion chromatography, which has been used in photography. Bennett hopes to start producing rare-earth oxides with K-Tech on a trial basis by the end of March.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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