Rainbow Rare Earths (LON:RBW) together with K-Technologies have signed an agreement to use their separation method at the miner’s Phalaborwa rare earth project in South Africa.
K-Technologies is a Florida-based U.S. company that specializes in the development of chemical processing technologies. The technology that K-Tech has developed is an intellectually protected proprietary technology, which is used for the downstream separation of rare earth elements more efficiently and rapidly than traditional extraction techniques.
The agreement provides that Rainbow will be able to use the separation method in southern Africa for four years. Rainbow will pay a license fee of $5.5 million for each site where K-Tech’s technology is deployed.
Top of the Line
This new technology uses continuous ion exchange chromatography which helps the separation processing of useful elements with fewer steps in the process. This represents significant savings in time and money as it has lower operating costs compared to traditional technology.
George Bennett, CEO of Rainbow Rare Earths said that at Phalaborwa, the technology allows targeting rare earth oxides such as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, and terbium. These elements together represent virtually the value of the entire basket of important rare earths.
Bennet said, “In addition to the anticipated capex and opex savings, when compared to a traditional separation circuit, the IP will enable Rainbow to participate efficiently in the downstream separation process, allowing us to capture the full rare earth oxide price for our material.”
Through this agreement, Rainbow will be able to efficiently participate in the procurement of today’s most valuable rare earth oxides.
Rainbow Rare Earths has also explored in Zimbabwe since last year primarily around the Gungwa deposit where it has been reported by the U.S. Geological Survey to host cerium and lanthanum.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the group of 17 minerals that are involved in high-tech electronics and military products are as common as copper. But they are known as rare earths because rare earth minerals oxidize quickly and their extraction is highly complex.
Two Key Projects
Rainbow Rare Earths is a mining company with two major projects in Africa. The Phalaborwa Project in South Africa and the Gakara project in Burundi, East Africa.
The Phalaborwa project represents an environmental opportunity and is distinct from other rare earth development projects because it has low levels of radioactive elements. The project is located on a brownfield site in a South African mining town and benefits from the availability of associated skilled labor. Phalaborwa is an excellent location for the project as it has strong rail connections, which facilitate the import, export, and transport of any specialized reagents.
In addition, the Phalaborwa project is fully Environmental Impact Assessment cleared. The planned processing of material at Phalaborwa brings major environmental benefits by depositing clean, benign gypsum suitable for use in the construction and fertilizer industries.
Rainbow’s strategy is to become a responsible producer of rare earth metals globally. Its primary rare earth focus is NdPr. This element is considered key component driving the global green technology revolution.