Hexagon Energy Materials Ltd’s (ASX:HXG) partner in the commercialisation of the RapidSX rare earth element (REE) separation technology, Innovation Metals Corp, has entered into an agreement with Ucore Rare Metals Inc (CVE:UCU).
Ucore will assess RapidSX’s potential utilisation for the separation of REEs into high-purity REE oxides (REOs) using concentrate material from Ucore’s flagship Bokan-Dotsan Ridge REE Project in Alaska, US.
Hexagon’s management team in North America and Australia was instrumental in bringing the parties together and advancing the first binding Technical Services Agreement (TSA) signed for test processing the material.
Hexagon managing director Mike Rosenstreich said: “Ucore’s interest in and commitment to evaluating RapidSX is significant; they are a REE industry stalwart in the USA with an advanced project with US$145 million in designated financing from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA).
“Ucore plans to develop heavy and light REE downstream processing capabilities through its planned Alaska Strategic Metals Complex to produce separated high-purity REOs.”
Third-party validation of a unique technology
“Ucore brings a tremendous amount of third-party validation to RapidSX, underscoring Hexagon’s focus on the commercialisation of this important technology.
“Over the past several years, Ucore has evaluated a range of alternative REE-separation processes, resulting in the selection of solvent-extraction chemistry, which led to their interest in the proprietary RapidSX REE separation technology, offering significant CapEx and OpEx savings compared to current conventional SX-based commercial REE separation.
“With RapidSX, existing REE producers and project developers can integrate the addition of downstream REE separation to produce REOs, thus significantly increasing margins, saleable products and, most importantly — to effectively compete with Chinese operators.”
Hexagon regards the new agreement as a strong industry endorsement of the RapidSX REE separation technology and its potential to enable emerging producers to capture extra value in the REE supply chain on a highly cost-effective and competitive basis with the Chinese REE supply chain.