Perth-headquartered miner Lynas Rare Earths has secured a A$20m ($13.5m) grant from the Australian Government under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative – Manufacturing Integration Stream.
This grant will help Lynas develop new capabilities to process apatite-rich ores from Mt Weld in Western Australia.
The newly developed process contains two circuits for the removal of apatite.
With the grant, the company can partly finance the Apatite Leach Circuit to be located at Mt Weld.
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Lynas’ subsidiary Mt Weld Mining developed the process in alliance with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO).
The process to remove apatite mineral was developed with technical guidance from ANSTO’s Minerals unit.
Its Lucas Heights research facility in Sydney provided laboratory testing while the organisation will further support Lynas in implementing the project on a commercial scale.
The new circuits developed by Lynas are expected to increase recoveries of rare earth elements such as praseodymium, neodymium and dysprosium from Apatite-rich ores, which are inputs in key technologies that support global energy transition.
According to Lynas, this will meet the rising demand in North America, East Asia, and Europe.
The company plans to undertake the Apatite leach circuit project as part of the Mt Weld expansion. It is slated for completion by the end of next year.
Lynas CEO and managing director Amanda Lacaze said: “Lynas is delighted to receive this support from the Australian Government for the development of the Apatite Leach Circuit project at Mt Weld.
“It is very pleasing that this project will be undertaken in collaboration with ANSTO and with the involvement of students from Australian universities who are the future of the critical minerals industry.
“In addition to supporting the development of industry capability, the processing of apatite-rich ore will help to unlock additional value from the Mt Weld ore body with the goal of extending the operating life of both the mine at Mt Weld and the Lynas rare earths processing facility in Kalgoorlie.”