Texas Mineral Resources Corp. (TMRC), an exploration company targeting the heavy rare earths and a variety of other high-value elements and industrial minerals, hosted a visit from Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA) to the site of the company's DoE-funded rare earth project at the Jeddo Coal Company in eastern Pennsylvania.
TMRC is part of a team that includes Inventure Renewables, K-Technologies Inc. and Penn State University. The project is funded by Phase I of a two-phase DoE grant program totalling US$20 million. Work on the project commenced in early September after funding was formalised with a contract signing with the DoE.
Speaking to media at the site, Secretary Perry said: "The rare metal extraction process creates 'staggeringly important' opportunities for the industry and country." "I don't think we can overstate how important the development of rare earth minerals out of our anthracite coal and the potential that it is going to have." Congressman Barletta added that "This is not our grandfather's coal," ... "This is used for manufacturing steel and, now, we are finding these rare earth materials that we are buying from China. (A consortium involving) Penn State is seeing how we can extract these rare earth elements that are nowhere else, right here."
TMRC CEO Dan Gorski walked Secretary Perry and Congressman Barletta around the perimeter of the work site, where critical rare earths, including scandium, will be reclaimed from coal overburden in a pit that was mined from the early 1900's through the 1960's, well before the modern technology applications of rare earths were known. "Our team is gratified that Secretary Perry and Congressman Barletta took the time to visit our site," said Gorski. "The work we're doing under the Department of Energy grant will demonstrate how well our process can extract key rare earths from what has been seen up to now as anthracite coal waste piles. As a country, we can begin to reduce our total dependency on Chinese REEs, with rare earths recovered in Pennsylvania."
The National Energy Technology Laboratory of the US Department of Energy (DOE) has been conducting studies of technology metals associated with Appalachian coal deposits. This study has included extensive sampling of various coal properties. For example, in 2015, the DOE researchers collected 135 samples from the Jeddo Coal Co. properties, principally from drill core. The average technology metals content of these samples was 407 ppm total rare earth and 102 ppm scandium. Other work being carried out at Penn State University indicated that these metals can be effectively recovered by leaching the whole rock with ammonium sulfate. Assuming the applicability of these leaching techniques, and the very favourable prices for scandium, TMRC executed an MOU with Pagnotti Enterprises Inc. in 2016 to jointly develop these technology metals associated with the coal beds.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/05102017/us-energy-secretary-visits-texas-mineral-resources-rare-earths-from-coal-project/