Canadian Mining Journal


RARE EARTHS: Search direct extraction process reaches pilot plant stage

LABRADOR – Search Minerals of Vancouver says that SGS Canada has begun piloting Search’s direct extraction process on samples from the company’s Foxtrot rare earths (REE) project near the coastal community of St Lewis. The pilot plant is funded through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Research and Development Corp. of Newfoundland and Labrador for up to $1.25 million of the total $1.9 million cost.

The direct extraction process involves several steps, but Search describes it in two phases. In the first phase, a finely crushed material is treated to produce a rare earth carbonate concentrate. In the second and final phase, the carbonate concentrate is re-dissolved and re-leached to produce a high quality mixed rare earth oxide concentrate product ready for shipping to a refinery.

The 2016 preliminary economic assessment of the Foxtrot project suggests the indicated resource of 7.39 million tonnes and inferred resource of 1.98 million tonnes could be mined over a 14-year period. The pre-production capital estimate is $152 million including a $33 million contingency for an open pit and 1,000-t/d concentrator. The $57 million for underground development and $23 million for mine closure would be funded from operations. Total net revenue from the project could be $1.713 billion.

Details of the Foxtrot PEA are available at