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Energy Fuels achieves commercial production of separated rare earths at White Mesa

The White Mesa mill

The White Mesa mill

11th June 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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Uranium and rare earths elements (REEs) producer Energy Fuels has begun commercial production of separated neodymium-praseodymium (NdPr) at its White Mesa mill, in Utah.

This marks a milestone, bringing back the production of separated REEs back to the US after several decades.

The NdPr produced at White Mesa meets the applicable product specifications of REE metal-makers, which use these materials to manufacture REE-based alloys required for the permanent magnets widely used for electric motors in both battery-powered electric vehicles and dual power hybrids.

“With this announcement, Energy Fuels can confirm the return of separated rare earth production from monazite back to the United States after a multi-decade absence, in addition to the return of technological know-how and expertise in this extremely important field that is critical to national and economic security,” said president and CEO Mark Chalmers.

The company's new Phase 1 REE separation circuit is capable of producing NdPr at a design capacity of 850 t/y to 1 000 t/y. Energy Fuels expects to have commercial quantities of separated NdPr ready for shipment by the end of June.

Buoyed by the success of the Phase 1 REE separation project, Energy Fuels plans to further advance its rare earth initiatives. This includes a potential expansion of its standalone rare earth separation capabilities at the White Mesa mill to 4 000 t/y to 6 000 t/y of NdPr. Further, the aim of the planned Phase 2 and Phase 3 REE separation circuits is to produce 150 t/y to 225 t/y of dysprosium and 50 t/y to 75 t/y of terbium.

Following the completion of the current NdPr production run, Energy Fuels will shift its focus to processing stockpiled uranium ore and alternative feed material inventories at the mill. The company expects to producing between 150 000 lb and 500 000 lb of uranium oxide in 2024, with production expected to increase further in 2025.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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