Scientists at the University of Kentucky in the United States have successfully extracted nearly pure rare earth concentrates from coal using environmentally conscious and cost-effective methods.
Rick Honaker, principal investigator and professor of mining engineering, is able to delve into creating this new material after receiving more than $ 7 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. "The main goal of the US Department of Energy program is to produce concentrates that have a RE content of at least 2%," says Honaker. "We've already exceeded that goal."
He said the extraction process successfully recovered over 80% of the rare earth elements present in the feedstock. From a dry, monolithic perspective, the concentrate contains more than 80% rare earth elements and more than 98% rare earth oxides. In addition, neodymium and yttrium, commonly used in defense, high-tech and renewable energy, account for more than 45% of the total concentrate.
At the same time, scandium is effectively separated from other elements through this new recovery process. The rare earth elements commonly used in aviation and lighting, can be concentrated into separate products.
The Honaker team is working on a quarter-ton mobile rare earth harvest pilot plant project that is just one part of the project.
Source: China Nonferrous Network