Mannheim/Leipzig. A project consortium led by Ceritech AG received a funding in the amount of EUR 1.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the governmental funding measure “CLIENT II – International Partnerships for Sustainable Innovations”. The Project commences in January 2018 and has a duration of two years. The funding is not repayable. Ceritech AG develops a process to extract rare earth elements cost efficiently and environmental-friendly from gypsum tailings which are a waste product of the fertilizer production, produced in large quantities.
The purpose of the project is to advance the technology to industrial maturity. To this effect, the operation and the optimization of pilot plants are envisaged. The pilot plants will help to improve the process to develop a marketable rare earth oxide. The consortium consists of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg with its working group “Petrology and Economic Geology” and the Technical University Clausthal with the department of Mineral and Waste Processing.
On the basis of the work so far, the rare earth-bearing gypsum tailings from the fertilizer industry have proven to be a sustainable and economically interesting source for the production of the highly demanded rare earth metals. An important aspect is, that there is no need for additional mining operation including infrastructure. This leads to a significant cost advantage and also contributes to a very positive environmental balance. Currently, the gypsum tailings are used as soil enhancement in agriculture and are dumped in large tailings.
Joerg Reichert, CEO of Ceritech AG, comments: “We are very pleased that the BMBF shares our assessment of the economic potential and the sustainability of our rare earth gypsum project. The funding will help us to successfully develop the project during the coming years.”
Mannheim, 11 January 2018
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