Idaho National Laboratory and US Critical Materials Sign Agreement

Source: 12/4/2023, Location: North America

Idaho National Laboratory (INL), in collaboration with US Critical Materials Corp, will engage in a multi-phase collaborative project to develop a process for carbonatite ore handling, preparation, and extraction of targeted, value-added metals present in the ore. This process can be achieved by invoking a combination of conventional, newly developed (within the past decade), and emerging materials handling and separations processes.

The parties to the agreement are particularly focused on developing solutions for dealing with and solving the environmental issues related to mining and processing. The need for developing these solutions has become highly significant to the security of the United States given our current dependence on Chinese supply and processing of critical materials.

US Critical Materials Corp and INL will form several integrated industry/lab technical teams. The teams will evaluate state-of-the-art separations technologies. As part of their evaluation, they will commission targeted Research, Development, Demonstration, Testing & Evaluation (RDDT&E) of separations technologies useful for achieving economic, environmental, and performance efficacy targets provided by US Critical Materials Corp.

Cutting-edge technologies developed under this Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) could result in intellectual property that may lead to new patent filings at the conclusion of the eight-month term of the current CRADA.

US Critical Materials President, and former United States Geological Survey (USGS) rare earth commodities specialist, Jim Hedrick stated, "The U.S. has very little commercial rare earths processing. We need to be able to compete with and exceed China's rare earth processing capabilities. This research agreement, and the tech that will be developed, will help advance U.S. rare earth processing proficiency."

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