Through 2017-2018, Greenland Minerals undertook an extensive metallurgical optimisation program with leading rare earth company and major shareholder Shenghe Resources Holding Co Ltd.
In early 2018, the company outlined the development of an enhanced leaching method to simplify the refinery circuit and reduce capital and operating costs.
Continued development of the refinery circuit through 2018 has confirmed excellent rare earth recoveries of 94% - an 8% increase over recoveries considered in the 2016 feasibility study. Recovery improvements are across the light and heavy rare earths elements.
The improved rare earth recoveries have increased the projected output of commercially important rare earths to:
Importantly, the increased recoveries will result in the production of 32,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) rare earth oxide (REO), at a processing rate of 3 million tpa - the rate adopted in the 2016 feasibility study.
The results are significant and have positioned Kvanefjeld as the lowest-cost undeveloped ASX-listed rare earth project.
This has been achieved due to the unique nature of the Kvanefjeld ore minerals, which can be concentrated effectively through flotation, then refined with a single stage atmospheric leach circuit.
The Kvanefjeld Project is underpinned by the world’s largest code-compliant rare earth resource, and is favourably located in southern Greenland, with year-round direct shipping access to the project area.
Greenland Minerals managing director Dr John Mair said: “Recoveries and operating costs have now been finalised for the optimised Kvanefjeld Feasibility Study, and the results are exceptional.
“The low operating costs reflect the large output and simple, highly efficient processing that are key project advantages.
“Substantial improvements to flotation performance result in a higher-grade, lower volume mineral concentrate, reducing the scale of the refinery circuit.
“This is complemented by further simplifications to the refinery circuit, reduced reagent consumption, and improved rare earth recoveries.
“The improvements are the result of customised metallurgical program led by our major shareholder Shenghe Resources and have the project on track to be a high output, low cost producer of rare earths, over an initial 37-year mine life.
“We anticipate updates on the optimised capital costs in the coming weeks.
“The case continues to strengthen for Kvanefjeld to be developed as a major supplier of magnet metals – critical to the electrification of transport systems, wind energy, and green technologies.”