The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory has exercised their option to award Energy Fuels, working with a team from Penn Penn State, an additional $1.75 million to complete a feasibility study on the production of rare earth element (REE) products from natural coal-based resources, as well as from other materials such as REE-containing ores like the natural monazite ore the company is currently processing at its White Mesa Mill in Utah.
The DOE provided Energy Fuels a $150,000 contract in 2020 for the successful completion of a conceptual design for the same initiative, resulting in a total award to Energy Fuels of $1.9 million. The feasibility study is intended to support a cost estimate for the production of individually separated rare earth oxides and rare earth metals and alloys from coal-based resources or other resources, including Monazite, within the U.S. It will focus on REEs for the production of commodity and defense-related products.
Energy Fuels said it is already evaluating the potential to develop commercial REE separation, metals, alloys, and other downstream REE capabilities at the White Mesa Mill, or nearby, with the goal of fully integrating a commercial U.S. REE supply chain in the coming years. The company’s work on the DOE feasibility study is expected to complement these efforts.