Canadian Mining Journal


RARE EARTHS: Company recovers rare earths from waste

FLORIDA – Precision Periodic, a company based at the University of Central Florida’s Business Incubator Program, was successful in extracting and separating rare earth elements out of both phosphoric acid and the resulting waste using a reusable nano-filtration system called Thor.

In a press release, the start-up explained that to run the experiment, the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute provided Precision with two different source liquids. The first was the wet process phosphoric acid which contained radioactive elements and the second was a sulphuric acid leach liquid of the sludge waste.

The filter captured 40% to 60% of the rare earth elements and radioactive elements in a five-minute single pass from wet process phosphoric acid and 80% of the rare earth elements in a five-minute single pass from sulphuric acid leached waste.

The company’s filter can handle up to 23,300 litres an hour, which means that it can hold from .5 to 1.2 kg of rare earth elements, precious metals, or heavy metals.

“The successful test projects proved that the Thor nano-filtration technology could be a game changer for U.S. production of its own rare earth elements supply,” Brian Andrew, CEO of Precision Periodic, said in the media statement.

“The phosphoric acid contains 150 ppm of total rare earths. Based on our extraction capabilities, we could extract 75 grams of total rare earths out of every 1,000 liters of phosphoric acid from a phosphate mine. This equates to one Florida phosphate mine being able to produce 230 tonnes of total rare earths per year which would supply an estimated 25% of the annual U.S. military needs.”

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