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Aclara produces first sample of high purity heavy rare earths concentrate from its pilot plant in Chile

Aclara Resources, a development-stage company that focuses on heavy rare earth mineral resources, has started the continuous operation of its newly constructed pilot plant for the Penco Module near Concepcion, Chile. The company produced the first sample of high purity Heavy Rare Earth Elements (HREE) concentrate after a successful commissioning period where all the equipment was tested with clays from the Penco Module.

We are thrilled to officially start the continuous operation of the pilot plant. This an important milestone for the company as well as the technical team as it represents the culmination of more than three years of engineering and metallurgical test work to develop a process which will satisfy our commitment to innovation and a design process which meets our exacting environmental objectives. The pilot plant operation is also a key component of several strategic objectives seeking to unlock value by improving the metallurgy recovery of the Penco Module ionic clays, generating representative product samples for commercial negotiations, serving as a showcase to the local communities and stakeholders, and finally gaining relevant experience for inclusion in the design of potential new modules in Chile and Brazil.

—Barry Murphy, Aclara’s Chief Operating Officer

A final report detailing the full piloting methodology and associated results is expected to be completed by the end of Q3 2023 for inclusion in the upcoming Feasibility Study Report to support the subsequent NI 43- 101 Technical Report relating to the Penco Module Project.

The successful completion of the laboratory testing phase (announced on 09 November 2022) gave birth to “Circular Mineral Harvesting”—a process that not only results in attractive recoveries of Rare Earths but also minimizes the associated environmental footprint.

The extensive testing program carried out during 2021 and 2022 validated the water treatment requirements for the Penco Module flowsheet, thereby satisfying the objective to minimize the freshwater requirements of the process plant through maximizing the recycling of the process liquors within the plant. During this program, an innovative process was conceived which allows the recycling of water in a closed circuit to meet the goal of zero liquid discharge.

As a result, the production flowsheet shows that 95% of the water utilized by the process plant is retained within the circuit, that 99% of the main reagent (ammonium sulphate) is recirculated, and that no liquid residues will be produced, thus negating the need for a tailings storage facility.

In addition, the mining activities do not require the use of explosives nor the need to crush and milling the ionic clay feedstock, resulting in an operation with a very low carbon footprint.

The proposed process flowsheet has two patents in place that protect this innovation. The first has been granted in all the countries that were requested viz. Chile, Brazil, US, and China, while the second patent has recently been filed and is pending approval.


Circular Mineral Harvesting Process Flowsheet Schematic. The integrated process of mine extraction, desorption, impurities removal and the precipitation of a high purity HREE concentrate as a final product.

Aclara Resources’ primary project is located in the BioBio Region of southern Chile. The company is dedicated to developing its mineral resources through a project known as the Penco Module. This module encompasses an area of approximately 600 hectares and contains ionic clays that are rich in heavy rare earth elements.

Currently, Aclara Resources is primarily focused on the development, construction, and future operation of the Penco Module. The goal is to establish a processing plant that will produce a heavy rare earth concentrate. This concentrate will be generated by processing clays obtained from nearby deposits.


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