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DOE to award $30M to support production of rare earths and other critical minerals from coal-based resources

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $30 million to help lower the costs of the onshore production of rare earths and other critical minerals and materials from domestic coal-based resources. (DE-FOA-0002619)

According to the US Geological Survey’s National Mineral Information Center, the United States imports more than 80% of its rare earth demand from non-domestic suppliers. However, rare earth elements occur naturally, including in domestic coal and coal wastes. The funding opportunity seeks to tap this unconventional resource to help build a domestic supply chain critical to the US economy, clean energy, and national security.

BIL will invest to conduct proof-of-concept testing in laboratory- or bench-scale facilities, addressing the potential viability of advanced innovative processes to produce individually separated, high purity (ISHP) rare earth oxides/rare earth salts (REO/RES), and high purity single or binary rare earth metals (REM), at costs that are lower (e.g., ~20%) than costs for producing these materials using currently available conventional separations and conversion technologies.

Mixed rare earth oxides or mixed rare earth salts (MREO/MRES) for use in advanced separation and purification process, as well as critical minerals and materials (CMM), will be produced in existing small pilot-scale facilities that extract, separate and recover MREO/MRES and CMM from coal-based resources. Rare earths and CMM of interest include dysprosium (Dy), europium (Eu), neodymium (Nd), terbium (Tb), yttrium (Y), lutetium (Lu), praseodymium (Pr), samarium (Sm), gadolinium (Gd), cobalt (Co), manganese (Mn), gallium (Ga), chromium (Cr), germanium (Ge), lithium (Li), niobium (Nb), strontium (Sr), titanium (Ti), vanadium (V), indium (In), iridium (Ir), platinum (Pt), nickel (Ni), graphite, and tin (Sn).

This FOA has the following two Topic Areas:

  1. Advanced Process Development for Production of Rare Earth Metals and Co-Production of Critical Minerals and Materials from Coal-Based Resources; and

  2. Production of Critical Minerals and Materials Excluding Materials Containing Rare Earth Elements from Coal-Based Resources.

Since January 2021, DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management has announced an estimated $41 million in projects that support critical minerals and materials exploration, resource identification, production, and processing in traditional mining and fossil fuel-producing communities across the country. This total includes $16 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for detailed engineering and cost studies toward a first-of-a-kind domestic facility that will extract and separate rare earth elements and critical minerals from unconventional sources such as mining waste.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), under the purview of FECM, will manage the selected projects.



Too bad they're simultaneously doing all they can to stop coal production.

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