New Progress in Rare Earth Extraction, Reduce Time and Pollution

Hong Kong media said that a team of Chinese scientists has developed a new method, which they said can greatly reduce the time to extract rare earth from ore, while reducing industrial pollution.

According to the Hong Kong "South China Morning Post" website reported on May 31, the extraction of trace metals is difficult and takes several days to complete, but researchers at a Chinese Academy of Sciences research institute in Fujian said they found a way, can reduce the refining time to a few minutes.

Sun Xiaoqi, the leader of the research team, said that this is a major progress. He said: "This may lead to a technological revolution in the rare earth industry." According to Sun Xiaoqi, the standard method for extracting rare earths from ore is to immerse them in toxic chemical solutions to separate useful elements, a process that takes a week.

However, using the new materials developed by Sun Xiaoqi's research group, useful elements can be separated at an unprecedented speed and efficiency.

rare earth ore image

According to the report, under the microscope, the new phenoxycarboxylic acid extractant contains numerous solid particles with a diameter of only a few microns. When this extractant is mixed with fine particles of rare earth ore, a process called "extraction-precipitation" begins.

Sun Xiaoqi said: "This work can be completed in 20 minutes." He said that this method can also be used to extract rare earth from mining waste rock and even obtain a certain amount of rare earth from leached waste.

Sun Xiaoqi said that the new extraction method can not only reduce pollution, but also reduce production costs.

He said: "We are making this extraction process into a large-scale application phase." According to reports, some rare earth producers have completed relevant industrial tests. There are still some problems, such as how to produce extractants on a large scale and improve existing equipment in rare earth refineries, but Sun Xiaoqi said that they have received government support.

He said: "The government attaches great importance to the rare earth industry, and our research has been supported by stable and adequate funding."

rare earth extraction test image