Brazilian miner Serra Verde has started Phase I commissioning of its Pela Ema deposit in Minaçú, Goiás, Brazil.

The company is developing an integrated rare earth element (REE) mining and processing operation in the country and secured a capital injection of $150m (R716.05m) in January 2023 to advance the project.

Controlled by global investment company Denham Capital, Serra Verde expects Phase I of the Pela Ema deposit to produce at least 5,000 tonnes per annum of rare earth oxide over its operational life of 25 years. It has significant potential to increase capacity through plant optimisation.  

In a press statement, Serra Verde said: “The significantly defined resource facilitates a potential Phase II expansion of the Pela Ema deposit, with the objective of doubling run-of-mine production before the end of this decade.”

Once operational, the deposit is expected to produce a unique mineral concentrate comprising a high-value combination of both heavy and light magnetic REEs, including neodymium (Nd), praseodymium (Pr), terbium (Tb) and dysprosium (Dy).

The four elements are said to be essential for manufacturing permanent magnets, which are used in electric vehicles and wind turbine generators, among other green technologies.

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By GlobalData

Serra Verde CEO Thras Moraitis said: “Serra Verde is a world-class operation and the quality of its products and growth options make it a unique asset with the potential to be a cornerstone upon which the permanent magnets sector can begin to diversify its supply chains.

“We have already commenced work on the numerous growth options at our disposal, including debottlenecking and improving recoveries in our current phase, accelerating the potential Phase II expansion of the Pela Ema deposit and further exploration of our large tenement.”