Rare Earth Elements
Recovery and Reuse
Rare earth elements are currently used in the manufacture of cell phones, hybrid engines, specialty magnets, computer hard drives, and an increasing number of electronic components and other consumer products. Rare earth elements are also vital raw materials for the production of military equipment, including weapons guidance systems, optical technology, engines and propulsion systems, stealth technology, and hardened ceramics for vehicle and body armor. These materials have been designated as critical for national security and domestic manufacturing by the United States Government.
Periodic Products’ patented polymer compounds rapidly bind to rare earth elements. The Company has shown that this recovery and reclamation technology is applicable to phosphate fertilizer waste, coal ash, acidic mine drainage, and incinerator waste. Further, non-optimized pilot plant yields were equal to those currently obtained by the rare earth mining industry from raw ore, without the environmental impact associated with mining operations.
Prior to the Company’s technology, an efficient and economically viable low environmental impact process to extract and recover rare earth and other elements from these waste products has not been possible.
The Company has also developed a filtration technology that utilizes the relatively large size of its polymers to rapidly separate the polymer-metal complexes from aqueous media, including various extraction solutions, making the recovery of low concentrations of rare earth and other metals from solid materials now possible.
The financial and environmental costs associated with recovering rare earth elements from mining waste are significantly less than the respective costs of obtaining these metals from mined ore. It is estimated that the cost of Periodic Products’ extraction and isolation technology is approximately 40% of the current cost of mining and isolating these metals, and less than half the cost of competing extraction/concentration technologies, making this process economically viable.
Coal combustion products, including coal ash, represent an extremely rich source of rare earth metals. The United States generates approximately 115 million metric tons (mt)…
Phosphate minerals are also principal rare earth element ores, giving phosphate rock the potential to become an important supplemental source of rare earth elements…