30 May 2023
by Sarah Morgan

Canada launches extraction cell technology for rare-earth element processing

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), Canada, has successfully designed and manufactured proprietary, commercial-scale, solvent extraction cells for its rare-earth processing facility, currently under construction.

Fabrication facility. © The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC)

With this announcement, Saskatchewan and Canada become one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the world with this capability. 

SRC is constructing North America’s first fully integrated, commercial, demonstration rare-earth processing facility with hydrometallurgy, separation and metal smelting stages, which is expected to be fully operational in late 2024. 

SRC will be manufacturing 140 of these cells at the fabrication facility by autumn 2023. They are being developed with automation algorithms to improve productivity and efficiency and are being manufactured at an SRC-operated fabrication facility in Saskatoon, SK.

The cells will be the main component in the rare-earth processing facility's separation unit.

The cells take mixed rare-earth chloride, a liquid mixture which includes all 17 rare-earth elements, through a process that separates them into individual or grouped rare earth oxides.

Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for SRC, says. 'The design, fabrication and automaton of these solvent extraction cells right here in Saskatchewan is helping to develop an innovative and secure rare-earth element supply chain in North America.'