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December 9, 2021updated 07 Jan 2022 6:47am

IonicRE to acquire REE separation technology company SerenTech

SerenTech developed a technology to support rare earth element (REE) separation and refining from mining ore concentrates.

Ionic Rare Earths (IonicRE) has signed a binding term sheet to acquire UK-based Seren Technologies (SerenTech).

SerenTech is a subsidiary of Swiss private equity company Seren and focuses on the development of new technologies.

The company has developed a technology to support rare earth element (REE) separation and refining from mining ore concentrates and waste permanent magnets. It uses multifunctional amide ionic liquids (MAIL) to separate and recover REE.

The refined products are said to have a demonstrated high purity exceeding 99.99% REO grades.

The acquisition will provide IonicRE with rare earth separation and refining capability, as well as support its transition to a vertically integrated rare earths company.

IonicRE managing director Tim Harrison said: “The addition of SerenTech to the group will provide the company with additional capability for rare earth separation, to individual rare earth elements refined to high purity oxides, which will further advance the company’s plan to unlock additional value from the unique critical and heavy rare earth basket to be produced at Makuutu [project in Uganda].”

“Importantly, there is immediate potential to roll out a strategy incorporating permanent magnet recycling into the near-term activities of the company, providing an interim step to help bridge the gap between production at Makuutu and going downstream with our own dedicated separation and refining asset.”

Under the term sheet, IonicRE will acquire SerenTech from Seren, professors Peter Nockemann and Martin Atkins.

A non-refundable $150,000 option fee was paid that provides IonicRE to complete due diligence investigations on the technology and the company within a period of 90 days.

If IonicRE exercises the option to acquire SerenTech, the former will pay $1m in cash to the sellers. It will also issue 48 million fully paid ordinary shares in IonicRE to the sellers with a combined value of $1.5m.

The sellers will also be entitled to a payment of up to $1.5m if IonicRE receives any licence fee related to the use of the technology for magnet recycling or rare earth separation.

The proposed acquisition will be subject to several conditions, including shareholder and regulatory approvals.

In April, IonicRE partnered with Aluminum Corporation of China (Chinalco) to advance the development of the Makuutu rare earths project.

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