According to a statement from Geomega, the funding is part of a “total envelope of $2.96 million” awarded to it and an unnamed Québec-based research and development company for a collaborative project which will see magnet scrap recycled using Geomega’s technology in the demonstration plant. The resulting rare earth oxides will then be used to produce rare earth metals by the project partner.
The project is funded by NGen’s Advanced Manufacturing Projects program, which NGen says is aimed to de-risk, commercialize, and scale up innovative manufacturing capabilities in Canada.
The plant will be constructed in 2024, according to a statement by Geomega’s president and CEO, Kiril Mugerman, who added that he is excited to collaborate with NGen on the project.
“We believe that recycling will play an important role in closing the loop within the rare earths and magnets supply chain,” Mugerman said. “[The demonstration plant will] provide a local recycling solution for end-of-life magnets and a sustainable supply of rare earths for the developing metal and magnet industries.”
Geomega, which trades on the TSX Venture exchange under the symbol GMA, was founded in 2009 with a focus on mineral exploration. The company began working on rare earth element (REE) separation in 2013 with the appointment of Pouya Hajiani, who went on to become the company’s CTO in 2015 after successfully implementing its technology to separate REEs.
As Geomega explains on its website, REEs make up a group of 15 elements called “lanthanides,” which are used in electronic devices ranging from headphones to computed tomography scanners. What makes REEs “rare” is the difficulty of separating them into single elements of high purity, due to their chemical similarities.
Geomega says it is looking to tap into a $1.5 billion CAD global market by addressing the large volume of waste from magnet manufacturers, which it says represents an important source of REEs, keeping magnets from the landfills and putting REEs back into a self-sustaining supply chain.
Feature image courtesy Geomega via its website.