Innovation Metals nears pilot stage for rare earth technology

Toronto-based company says it will build pilot plant for separation technology that can be used in recycling applications.

imc rare earth
IMC says it expects to complete the construction of its pilot plant by the end of this March.
Image provided by Innovation Metals Corp.

Toronto-based Innovation Metals Corp. (IMC) says it expects to start construction of a demonstration-scale pilot plant for its RapidSX rare earth metals separation process in the first quarter of this year.

IMC says its pilot plant for RapidSX technology for the separation and purification of rare earth elements (REEs) will be located at its Commercialization and Development Facility in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

“Following a comprehensive, independent techno-economic study and the subsequent design of a commercial-scale REE separation facility, IMC anticipates that the RapidSX technology will be ready for commercial adoption and implementation by IMC’s customers via revenue-producing licensing agreements by the end of 2022,” the company adds.

“I am particularly pleased with the significant progress that the IMC team has made in recent months, as we work towards the key objective of constructing and commissioning the demo plant,” says IMC Chair, CEO and co-founder Gareth Hatch. “Interest in the RapidSX technology for the separation of REEs and other critical metals is as strong as ever, and we continue to actively engage and to progress discussions with a number of third parties.”

IMC says it is commercializing its RapidSX technology to capture “a number of metals, to help enable mining and metal recycling companies to compete in today’s global marketplace” for rare earth elements.

The company says it has completed the initial design and layout of the individual RapidSX column assemblies for the RapidSX demo plant, as well as the pump and piping networks and other physical hardware required. The company describes itself as being in the final stages of selecting and subsequently procuring the components of the instrumentation and control system for the plant.

The current target for the completion of construction is the end of March, with commissioning and operation during an initial test campaign to commence shortly thereafter.

In addition to its ongoing RapidSX development work, IMC says it has been working with researchers at the University of Toronto to develop and evaluate “proprietary, cost-effective methods of reducing the quantity of yttrium in heavy-REE-rich feedstocks, prior to separation using RapidSX.

ICM describes yttrium as a low-value REE. Reducing the quantity of it in HREE feedstocks prior to subsequent separation has the potential to reduce operating costs, as well to reduce the plant size required, thus reducing capital costs, says the firm. “The work has progressed very well to date and IMC looks forward to reporting on further developments in early 2022,” states the company.

IMC says it has developed the RapidSX process to enable the low-cost separation and purification of rare earth elements, plus nickel, cobalt, lithium and other metals “via an accelerated form of solvent extraction.” IMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada-based Ucore Rare Metals Inc.

Share This Content