ACDC Metals has signed the services of a highly-regarded industry consultant to work with it on its plans for a unique rare earth element (REE) processing plant in Australia.
The company is looking to fast-track its local rare earth plans on the back of news that there is a looming bottleneck for a number of highly sought-after rare earths following reports that China is planning to restrict exports.
Chief executive officer, Tom Davidson, said ACDC’s upgrade of its rare earth activities comes at a time when Western media is reporting that China has imposed new restrictions on gallium and germanium.
He said the Chinese move reiterates the importance of the ACDC Metals strategy, with downstream value-add processing in Australia considered vital to ensuring supply of critical materials to support the energy transition.
For its part, ACDC has brought in the consultants to assist with a localisation study as part of the company’s rare earth processing plant (REPP) scoping study which is on target for completion in the fourth quarter with a number of key technical work streams either awarded or under evaluation.
The localisation study will help ACDC confirm the potential to construct the plant, which utilises an exclusively licensed Medallion Monazite Process, in southeastern Australia.
A previous scoping study compiled by Medallion Resources was designed for a North American setting.
Identifying suitable locations and infrastructure
To date ACDC has received strong government, investor and prospective customer feedback which it says has indicated there is strong support for Australian business strategies that incorporate downstream value add processing of rare earth elements locally.
The new study will identify locations that are amenable to the infrastructure and services required for a rare earth element processing plant and help optimise potential transport routes to and from market.
JBS&G Australia have been engaged to complete the study and will also provide a roadmap for permitting.
No new testwork needed initially
Notably, the new scoping study will not require any additional testwork beyond that already completed by Medallion Resources in both Canada and Australia.
However, an additional testwork program will be required for a prefeasibility study, the next stage of ACDC’s development plans.
The company will utilise 3 tonnes of mineralised material it obtained from recent drilling at Goschen Central. That material is being sent to Mineral Technologies (MT) in Carrara, Queensland for mineral separation optimisation.
In addition to zircon and titania products, MT will produce a large monazite sample to support testwork of the REPP. ACDC has also moved to source third-party monazite to complement its strategy to create a rare earth element processing hub in Australia.
“The commencement of studies to select the location of ACDC Metals’ rare earth element processing plant in southeastern Australia is a big step towards our strategic goal of downstream processing in Australia,” Mr Davidson said.
“This study builds on the work done by Medallion Resources and will refine processing and permitting parameters for an Australian setting.”
Minerals sands activity
The scoping study is being conducted in parallel with ACDC’s mineral sands exploration, with laboratory results being collated to support the development of the maiden resource, which is targeted for completion in the third quarter.
ACDC’s proposed plant will process monazite feedstock via a flowsheet based on a caustic crack process utilised in the 1970s in France and the 1980s by the United States and since then in China.
The process produces a rare earth carbonate, containing key rare earth metals to feed the next value-add steps for magnet production.
In mid-June ACDC reported it had obtained exceptionally high value heavy mineral assemblage through initial mineralogy studies from the Goschen Central site in Western Victoria.
Testing achieved very high monazite grades which the company said indicates an excellent rare earth element source.
Source: small caps