TSX-V-listed Namibia Critical Metals (NCM) has successfully completed hydrometallurgical test work to develop a flowsheet capable of producing a high-grade rare earth oxide product from a xenotime flotation concentrate from its Lofdal heavy rare earths project in Namibia.
This development follows the granting of a mining licence for the project in July.
The Lofdal deposit is one of only two primary xenotime projects under development in the world.
It is being developed in a joint venture with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, targeting a long-term, sustainable supply of heavy rare earths to Japan.
NCM’s lead metallurgical consultants at SGS Minerals Services Canada have simplified the final process stage with an acid bake to crack the mineral xenotime, to purify the pregnant leach solution and to precipitate a rare earth oxalate, which subsequently calcined to form a product containing greater than 98% total rare earth oxides.
The acid bake process and concurrent removal of impurities is highly efficient and resulted in a 95% recovery of dysprosium and terbium in the leaching operation of the processing flow sheet, NCM notes.
It says the high-quality product is practically free of typical deleterious elements like thorium and uranium.
“These very positive test results are another big milestone for the Lofdal project and show that we are on the right path towards establishing that Lofdal can produce a valuable heavy rare earth product.
“This will allow us to advance an updated assessment of large-scale and integrated rare earth production towards a high-purity rare earth oxide product in Namibia,” NCM president Darrin Campbell says.