New Pilot Facilities Planned

Swedish mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara Aktiebolag (LKAB) intends to invest in pilot plants for phosphorus and rare earth metals.

The company will invest 45 million Swedish kronor (converted into US-Dollar: nearly five million) in pilot plants as part of a pre-feasibility study “to define a process that enables recycling of mine waste through innovative processing, producing critical raw materials. Lab tests conducted during the year confirmed that we can produce more phosphorus and rare earth metals than estimated,” President and Group CEO Jan Moström informed in February this year. LKAB intends to build two pilot plants for development and preparation for full-scale industrialization: one in the orefields and one in Uppsala. “The orefields plant will produce apatite from tailings sand.

The plant in Uppsala will be run by the Ragn-Sells innovation company EasyMining, which has developed the patented technology for extracting pure monoammonium phosphate (MAP) and rare earth metals (REE) from apatite,” a press release said. According to the information, full-scale industrial production of MAP would correspond to an estimated 500 percent of Swedish demand and production of REE would amount to about two percent world production. The pilot phase will continue through 2020. A decision to go ahead with full-scale production may be taken in 2021.

(GR 22019, Page 14)