Rainbow Rare Earths and Mosaic Company have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly assess the viability of rare earth elements (REEs) extraction from the latter’s project in Brazil.

An integrated producer of concentrated phosphate and potash, Mosaic owns a phosphogypsum stack located in the Uberaba area of Minas Gerais.

Through the MoU, the companies will collaborate to develop a process flowsheet to extract REEs from the Uberaba-based phosphogypsum stack.

Rainbow expects the stack to hold a similar grade and composition to that of its Phalaborwa project in South Africa.

The company noted that these two operations involve a hard-rock carbonatite phosphate deposit, which is being mined and processed into a phosphate slurry and subsequently into phosphoric acid.

Rainbow CEO George Bennett said: “This agreement with Mosaic represents a major opportunity for Rainbow to apply the proprietary extraction technology developed in conjunction with K-Tech to become a multi-asset producer of rare earth elements from secondary sources.

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“The geographic diversification of our portfolio further de-risks Rainbow as one of the only rare earth development companies with multiple near-term production opportunities and aligns with our aim to be a forerunner in the establishment of an independent and ethical supply chain of the rare earth elements that are driving the green energy transition.”

Upon production of the process flowsheet, Rainbow and Mosaic will jointly work on the production of a preliminary economic assessment to extract rare earths.

Mosaic senior vice-president Corrine Ricard said: “We have made considerable strides over the years in advancing gypsum reuse – and this work is a natural extension of that. As we execute our mission to help the world grow the food it needs, the opportunity to further harness shared value out of the coproducts we produce benefits Mosaic and its stakeholders.”