The U.S. Rare Earths Supply Chain Challenge – Part 3

In an ongoing series on how to solve the U.S. rare earths supply chain challenge, 3 Sr Editors from InvestorIntel and well-known Rare Earths Consultants begin the debate on what are the challenges in creating a rare earths supply chain in North America.

Participants include Tracy Weslosky, InvestorIntel’s Sr Editor, Publisher and Rare Earths Consultant; Jack Lifton, InvestorIntel’s Sr Editor, Host and Rare Earths Advisor; and Alastair Neill, InvestorIntel’s Sr Editor and Rare Earths Expert.

Jack starts the debate with: “When you extract rare earths from ore you get a mixture of rare earths and other things that were in the ore that came out in the extract which is usually an acid. The first thing that you have to do is make a pregnant leach solution. What that means is that you put the metal values in the minerals into the solution. Then you separate out those things that are not rare earths or rare earths that you don’t really want for example cerium. Now that solution which is normally a hydrochloric acid extract goes into a separation system which in the US has only been a solvent extraction for light rare earths.”

Alastair added “There are other companies looking at novel ways to separate rare earths in an environmentally friendly process to tackle this and compete with the Chinese. The benchmark is the Chinese separation cost which is about $2.50 to $3 a kilogram.”

The experts panel also discussed some of the major problems in the North American rare earths supply chain. The panel discussed that the problem in the North American rare earths space is the absence of rare earth separation facility and metallization capability in North America.

  • To access the complete discussion, click here
  • To access Part 1 of this rare earths series, click here
  • To access Part 2 of this rare earths series, click here

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9 responses

  1. Louis Pearson Avatar
    Louis Pearson


    what ever became of Great Western’s “Less Common Metals” subsidiary? Did they not produce magnet alloys? Has their know-how been preserved?

    1. Alastair Avatar

      LCM is based in England and does produce alloys for NdFeB magnets and SmCo magnets

    2. Joe Avatar

      You might also be remembering Great Western’s Michigan subsidiary, which was divested in 2014.

  2. Dan Avatar

    I am curious about whether Neo Performance Materials derisks some stages of the rare earth supply? They’re Headquartered in Toronto, but I realize that operations may not be in North America, but in Asia & Europe. I am also not clear whether they hold the patents of Magnequench or there’s some other owner(I.e., Chinese).

    1. Tracy Weslosky Avatar
      Tracy Weslosky

      Great questions. We will be doing a piece on them shortly, and will address all of these questions. Thank you for visiting Dan.

  3. Joe o Avatar
    Joe o

    Do u mean the same eutectix that is part or ucore new consortium for potential army funds?

  4. Stewart Avatar

    Jack why do you fail to mention what UCORE has done with MRT using a PLS and columns? They have been successful at rates 0f 99.9% purity levels that you were privy to!

  5. Louis Franklin Pearson Avatar
    Louis Franklin Pearson

    In 2016, Daido Steel, a Japanese manufacturer of neodymium magnets, announced its intention to build a manufacturing facility in the U.S. I am guessing that their plan might have been put on hold due to the fact that the urgency to create a REE feedstock supply chain in the U.S. did not gain traction until just recently. I wonder if the emergence of the possibility of U.S. government funding grants to jump start a North American REE supply chain might breathe new life into Daido’s initial plan.

  6. Stewart Avatar

    Jack can you explain your comments in this video and why you dont advocate for Ucore anymore?
    In particular your comment about this being a U.S. Gold Mine in Alaska aka Bokan

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