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Medallion Resources making great strides with proprietary process to extract rare earths from mineral sand monazite

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  • Medallion’s technology will help meet increasing critical raw material demands
  • Monazite contains up to 60% rare earth minerals and is consistently enriched in neodymium and praseodymium
  • It is widely available as a by-product from operating North American, Australian and African mines

What Medallion Resources does:

Medallion Resources Ltd (CVE:MDL) (OTCMKTS:MLLOF) is focused on extracting rare earths from monazite, an abundant byproduct of heavy mineral sands mining, and has developed a proprietary technology to do so.

The Vancouver-based company is pioneering a process that extracts what is known as magnet metals, or more specifically neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).

These are the essential ingredient in lightweight and powerful rare earth magnets, which are used in electric vehicle (EV) motors and in wind/ solar technology.

The value of the global annual NdPr oxide market was US$4.2 billion in 2019 and industry analysts estimate an increase in demand to US$12.7 billion by 2030 – a compound annual growth rate of 13%.

Recently, UBS forecast average NdPr prices to stand at US$60 per kilogramme for 2021, although spot is higher, while the prices should move to around US$100 per kilogramme in 2024, it says.

The Medallion monazite process extracts the high-value metals and produces marketable product from over 90% of the feed.

Significantly, rare earth prices are rising, alongside raw materials for lithium-ion batteries. Electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid vehicles are forecast to make up 40% of new market share by 2030.

Medallion’s management have marked experience. Its CEO and president is experienced rare earth and critical materials executive Mark Saxon, who led the company in the discovery of the Norra Karr project in Sweden.

China has dominated the production and value-add stages of the rare earths industry for the last three decades as US and European manufacturing industries traded supply security for low prices. The People’s Republic currently controls around 85% of global rare-earth production.

But Medallion notes that rare earth elements (REE) have now been repeatedly identified as critical raw materials in both the US and the EU. The company has a market cap of around C$30 million and its shares have risen by around 440% over the last 12 months.

How is it doing:

In what the company called a “pivotal” moment, Medallion in February acquired the licence for the exclusive rights to a university-developed REE separation process.

The license, acquired through Hasler Ventures, provides Medallion with a portfolio of technology, patents, and knowhow for so-called ligand-assisted displacement (LAD) chromatography technique, developed by Dr Linda Wang, a professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University, which was ranked the fifth most innovative university in the US by US News & World Report.

Meanwhile, Medallion in April announced the completion of a suite of diagnostic test work at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) in Sydney to extract REE from mineral sand monazite — an abundant REE-rich feedstock that can be accessed as a by-product from global mineral-sand mines that target zirconium and titanium without the need for additional mining.

Medallion’s business model is centered on the Medallion Monazite Process, a transferable and scalable technology designed to accept multiple mineral-sand monazite feedstocks and extract high-value REEs with high efficiency, high recovery, and zero liquid waste.

The company utilizes Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a tool to help reduce the environmental and CO2 impact of REE production. Processing mineral-sand monazite close to the source presents the most sustainable solution versus long-distance transport.

Medallion also is finalizing a Techno-Economic Assessment (TEA) and LCA for the Medallion Monazite Process utilizing independent consultants. These studies draw together Medallion’s engineering, financial, and environmental impact data and will become the foundation of Medallion’s technology execution strategy.

As for capital, the company recently received gross proceeds of about $792,000 from the exercise of around 4.25 million warrants and options, putting it in a “strong position” with over C$2 million of working capital and research and engineering programs underway on both the extraction and the separation of REE.

Inflection points:

  • Release of techno-economic assessment results for its proposed US rare earth extraction plant
  • Rare earth price moves
  • Partnership/research activity

What the boss says:

“The study we have just completed at ANSTO enables us to be increasingly predictive toward REE- extraction and separation process conditions,” said CEO Mark Saxon in a recent statement.

“By acquiring a simple set of data from monazite suppliers, we can be predictive on the process conditions, costs and quantity of market-ready REE products.”

Contact the author: [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham

Story by ProactiveInvestors


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