Lynas and ANSTO combine on rare earth ores


Major rare earths producer Lynas Rare Earths has been awarded a $20 million grant awarded under the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative – Manufacturing Translation Stream to process apatite-rich ores at its Mt Weld mine in Western Australia..

Based on the company’s work with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Lynas will support the development of an Apatite Leach Circuit project to process the ores.

The new circuits are expected to increase recoveries of the critical metals Neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr) and Dysprosium which are used to make permanent magnets and other electrical energy products.

Lynas CEO Amanda Lacaze said: “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.”

Lynas is constructing a part processing plant at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia which will supply its Malaysian metals production plant.

The process to remove apatite mineral was developed in collaboration with Lynas and ANSTO’s Minerals unit, who provided technical guidance and laboratory testing from its Lucas Heights research facility in New South Wales.

Going forward, ANSTO will work with Lynas on the implementation of the project on a commercial scale, according to acting General Manager for the Minerals team at ANSTO, Dr Karin Soldenhoff.

Soldenhoff said: “We look forward to continuing to work with Lynas and lending our deep hydrometallurgical expertise to the Apatite Leach Circuit project for the benefit of Australia’s growing rare earths industry.”

For over the past 40 years, ANSTO’s Minerals unit of engineers, metallurgists, chemists, and scientists, has provided practical solutions and innovative technology to the Australian minerals and minerals processing industries, with a focus on critical minerals, particularly the rare earths.

ANSTO is also a participant in the Australian National Critical Minerals Research and Development Hub which brings together the critical minerals expertise of ANSTO, CSIRO, and Geoscience Australia.

Further reading:
Lynas to produce rare earths concentrates in Kalgoorlie from August

Picture: ANSTO

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