(SMY.V) Nov. 28, 2018 – Search Minerals Inc. will receive further research and development funding totalling $606,537 from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (TCII) and from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to assist in the refinement and optimization of Search Minerals’ direct extraction process.
The direct extraction process was the subject of a successful pilot plant program which was completed in August 2017. The program will further enhance the technology with a focus on equipment design and reliability, impurity management within the rare earth recovery process and improved final product quality. Search will receive $306,537 towards the project from TCII and will receive a $300,000 conditionally repayable contribution from ACOA. Search will contribute an additional $165,000. The total project cost is approximately $806,000.
“We are very pleased to have the support of both the government of Newfoundland and Labrador, through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, and of the federal government, through ACOA, to provide $606,537 R&D funding for this $806,000 project,” said Search Minerals president and CEO Greg Andrews. “TCII and ACOA have provided funding to Search from our first bench-scale testing in 2014 to our completion of the $1.9-million pilot plant testing program in 2017. Our successful collaboration with TCII and ACOA has allowed Search to continue to advance our critical rare earth project in southeastern Labrador.
“The information and data gathered from this pilot plant will be instrumental in the design of the processing facility required to produce our 99-percent high-purity mixed rare earth oxide concentrate,” Andrews added. “The Search project focuses on the key elements used in the permanent magnet market, poised to grow with the global electrification of modern transportation infrastructure being led by rapidly expanded manufacturing of electric/hybrid vehicles.”
Dr. David Dreisinger, Search Minerals vice-president of metallurgy, will supervise the work with SGS Canada; the project is expected to be completed within six months. The information from this program will ultimately be used to design and operate future demonstration and commercial processing plants. Concurrently with the pilot plant refinement and optimization program, Search continues to explore options for rare earth separation technology for production of individual rare earths from the mixed rare earth concentrate to be produced at the mine site.
The program will focus on sustainable equipment design for acid baking of rare earth ore; water leach optimization with investigation into separate leaching of coarse and fine material as well as investigation of calcine grinding; and more efficient use of impurity removal from the direct extraction process.
On the successful conclusion of the pilot plant optimization, Search will have reached the following milestones: continuous operation of the acid bake flowsheet under the new proposed configuration; bulk (batch) treatment of calcine through all the major circuits; continuous operation of a selective impurity circuit in a five-day mini pilot plant; and proof of operability of the selected flowsheet with chosen process parameters.
Search will engage the services of SGS Canada Inc. for the construction and operation of the optimized pilot plant. SGS has been involved with all key stages of the development of the direct extraction process from bench-scale testing to the pilot plant.
Search Minerals is focused on finding and developing resources within the emerging Port Hope-Simpson critical rare earth element district of southeastern Labrador. The company controls a belt 70 kilometres long and eight kilometres wide, including its 100-percent interest in the Foxtrot project, which is road-accessible and at tidewater. Exploration efforts have advanced Deep Fox and Fox Meadow as significant new prospects very similar to, and in close proximity with, the original Foxtrot discovery. While the company has identified more than 20 other prospects in the district, its primary objective remains development of Foxtrot. The delineation of additional resources will support competitive low-cost production beyond the 14-year mine life outlined in Foxtrot’s preliminary economic assessment (April 2016). The Foxtrot project has a low capital cost to bring the initial project into production ($152 million), a short payback period and is scalable due to Search’s proprietary processing technology.Disclaimer: ALWAYS DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH and consult with a licensed investment professional before making an investment. This communication should not be used as a basis for making any investment.