QUEBEC – Montreal’s Matamec Explorations has found a cheaper way to process ore from the Kipawa deposit at its Zeus rare earth element property 140 km south of Rouyn-Noranda. The Kipawa deposit is one of seven REE showings on the property.
Matamec’s proprietary leaching process replaces the energy-intensive acid baking step with an ambient-temperature leach, and the heating cost is completely eliminated. The earlier tests included an acid baking step on whole ore, with 600 kg/t of acid at 150°C.
Another key to the less costly process is the success of the initial physical concentration step. The ability to concentrate rare earths into 35% of the original ore mass, while rejecting the remaining 65% as waste, results in significant savings in reagent dosages. In combination with the significant reduction in acid dosage from 600 kg/t of ore down to 150 kg/t of concentrate, the sulphuric acid cost is potentially reduced by over 90%. The cost of limestone, which is used for neutralization, is also similarly reduced by over 90%.
Matamec expects to complete the Kipawa PEA in a few weeks. More information and videos of the Zeus property are posted at www.Matamec.com.