Medallion Resources Limited (CVE:MDL) (OTCMKTS:MLLOF) revealed Tuesday that its proposed US rare-earth plant has moved a step closer as it has now completed the process engineering design phase.
The company aims to produce rare-earth elements via processing monazite tailings using feedstock sourced from the southeast of the US.
Large amounts of monazite are produced in large volume in this area as a by-product from heavy-mineral sands mining. Currently, this valuable material is stockpiled, sold to China, or returned to the pit from where it was extracted.
The engineering design was completed by Australian-based consultant Simulus Engineers and includes detailed process flow diagrams and full waste management solutions.
"Completion of this design phase is a key milestone for Medallion," said Dr Kurt Forrester, consulting metallurgist at Medallion.
"It marks the culmination of core test work and process development stages. We are now combining this work with trade-off studies already underway.
"This data forms the basis for our planned Techno-Economic Assessment that will provide design engineering specifications and produce capital and operating cost estimates for our proposed US rare-earth plant.”
The techno-economic assessment is a scoping-level study that will produce a technical and economic assessment of the project. Medallion has hired international engineering group Stantec (TSE: STN) to evaluate sites for the extraction plant.
Rich in Neodymium and Praseodymium
The plant’s output will be rich in rare earths Neodymium and Praseodymium (NdPr), which are essential for the magnets that power the motors in electric vehicles (EVs), defense applications, and other clean technologies.
"Most current and planned EV and hybrid models, including the Tesla Model 3, incorporate NdFeB magnets as a key component in the traction motor," noted Medallion.
"While internal gas and diesel-powered vehicles each use approximately 0.7 kg of NdPr for accessory electric motors, EVs and hybrid vehicles require on average an additional 140% NdPr."
The firm highlighted that Adamas Intelligence has predicted that NdFeB magnet demand for traction motors will increase NdPr usage from 3,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) in 2018 to around 28,000 tpa in 2030, representing a 12-year increase exceeding 900%.
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