Construction of the first stage of the Saskatchewan Research Council’s (SRC) Rare Earth Processing Facility, which includes a Monazite Processing Unit (MPU) and a Solvent Extraction Unit (SXU), is underway The facility will be the first of its kind in Canada.
In August 2020, the Government of Saskatchewan announced $31 million in funding for the facility.
The conversion of REE ore to individual REE products is done in two main stages. The first is the concentration of ore to mixed REE Carbonate. The second is the more complex separation stage that converts the mixed REE Carbonate to commercial pure-grade REEs. The facility will address both stages of REE processing.
A private sector landlord is handling the construction of the building in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, which will be leased to SRC. SRC is continuing to make progress with the facility’s design and the procurement of the highly specialized plant equipment.
The MPU is expected to be operational ahead of schedule, in early 2023. The fully-integrated Facility is expected to be operational by mid-2024.
In July 2021, SRC procured up to 800 tonnes of monazite concentrate from Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB), S.A., in Brazil from their mine and processing facility. The monazite concentrate will arrive at SRC in the spring of 2022 and will be used as a feedstock for the MPU, once operational.
SRC continues to source additional preconcentrated monazite globally prior to the MPU commissioning. SRC’s Facility will require 3,000 tonnes per year of monazite concentrate on a 90 per cent basis (equivalent to 60% Total Rare Earth Oxide). However, SRC would like to secure a stockpile of feed in advance of commissioning.
SRC is Canada’s second largest research and technology organization.