Rare Earths Extraction: OCP & Mohammed VI Polytechnic University sign deal with British Rainbow
Moroccan state-owned phosphate group OCP and Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) signed on Monday a cooperation agreement with UK “Rainbow Rare Earths” company to further investigate and develop the optimal technique for the extraction of rare earth elements from phosphogypsum.
Phosphogypsum contains rare earths as a by-product of phosphoric acid production. OCP together with the innovative research carried out by UM6P, have built up significant IP assets, know-how and expertise in the field of phosphogypsum processing.
This provides a synergistic opportunity for joint development with Rainbow, given Rainbow’s expertise and intellectual property on rare earths extraction and processing gained from work carried out to date at Phalaborwa completed with the separation technolog licensed from K-Technologies, Inc., the process technologies company based in Florida, USA.
OCP group and UM6P will contribute with their respective expertise, including adapted complementary separation technologies. The signatory parties pledge to develop the optimal route for the extraction of rare earths from phosphogypsum, and the subsequent processing of these rare earths into separated elements.
They also pledge to work together on the development of pilot and industrial-scale extraction of rare earths from phosphogypsum.
Commenting the master agreement, Rainbow CEO, George Bennett, said: “We are delighted to enter this Agreement with such innovative partners and believe their significant knowledge of phosphogypsum processing fits well with our own technical expertise in rare earths processing”.
“The successful global transition to clean energy is reliant on a considerable increase in supply of critical materials such as NdPr, required in permanent magnet technology, and we are therefore continually exploring the best way of producing rare earths responsibly from secondary sources, which removes significant time, risk and cost from the overall project timeline,” said Mr.Bennett.