PROJECT SELECTIONS FOR FOA 2854: FRONT-END ENGINEERING DESIGN STUDIES FOR PRODUCTION OF CRITICAL MINERALS AND MATERIALS FROM COAL-BASED RESOURCES

TOPIC AREA 1 — FEED Study Based on AACE Class 3 Cost Estimate Targeting an Intermediate-Scale Facility (on the order of 30-100 tonnes of mixed rare earth oxides/mixed rare earth salts per year).

Illinois Rare Earth Novel Extraction & SupplyThe Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, Illinois) plans to perform a FEED study needed to establish a fully integrated, vertical supply chain for several critical minerals found entirely within Illinois. The objective is to produce lithium, scandium, neodymium and praseodymium, high-purity dysprosium, as well as other rare earth oxides, nickel, zinc, cobalt, manganese, and potentially high-purity aluminum. The project envisions three key facilities: (1) an extraction facility in Marissa, Illinois, at the Prairie State Energy Campus (a combination coal mine and coal-fired power plant complex); (2) a concentration and production plant to be located nearby to produce mixed rare earth oxides, scandium and other critical minerals; and (3) a purification and refining facility in Urbana, Illinois, to refine individual rare earth  oxides and metals (via electrowinning and metallothermic reduction) from the mixed rare earth oxides.

DOE Funding: $4,000,000
Non-DOE Funding: $1,000,266
Total Value: $5,000,266
 

TOPIC AREA 2 — FEED Study Based on AACE Class 3 Cost Estimate Targeting a Demonstration-Scale Facility (1-3 tonnes mixed rare earth oxides/mixed rare earth salts per day).

Demonstration-Scale Modular Rare Earth Metals, Alumina and Lithium Carbonate Production Plant from Bituminous Coal Underclay Tetra Tech Inc. (Houston, Texas) plans to complete a FEED study for a demonstration-scale rare earth metal and critical minerals production plant for coal-based resources located in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. The study will address Bipartisan Infrastructure Law priorities by completing the following objectives: (1) confirm quality and quantity of five years of feedstock reserves; (2) complete lab-scale production of samples of proposed products and wastes from feedstock sources; (3) complete preliminary engineering design of the facility for the selected site; (4) identify and engage key project stakeholders; (5) update the project business plan; (6) understand environmental impact of the project and develop any required mitigations; and (7) implement a community benefits plan. The project is a modular rare earth metal, alumina, and lithium carbonate production plant. It will process claystone exposed during surface mining of metallurgical coal for steel production. The expected outcome is to produce an investment package allowing for potential ownership or lending parties to make a financial investment decision to develop the project.

DOE Funding: $5,389,456
Non-DOE Funding: $1,351,487
Total Value: $6,740,943
 

Front End Engineering and Design Study of a Commercial Demonstration-Scale Plant to Produce Rare Earth Oxides from Coal AshWinner Water Services Inc. (Sharon, Pennsylvania) previously completed a Feasibility Case Study (FCS), which was the precursor program for the FEED study the company intends to complete at the Harllee Branch Power Plant in Milledgeville, Georgia. The FCS established a proof-of-concept commercial-scale plant design for implementing the company’s technology to recover rare earth elements from coal ash. The FCS plant was designed to produce approximately one ton per day of rare earth oxides. This mixture was refined to produce (1) concentrated heavy rare earths, (2) combined samarium, europium, gadolinium oxides, (3) lanthanum oxide, (4) neodymium/praseodymium metal, and (5) cerium carbonate. The FEED study will focus on further developing the FCS strategy to produce a detailed design and AACE Class 3 estimates for a hub-and-spoke model to generate one ton per day of mixed rare earth oxides from coal ash and refine them into critical minerals for the southeastern United States. The targeted scale critical minerals plant anticipates employing more than 450 full-time workers, creating good-paying jobs and economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities.

DOE Funding: $7,993,082
Non-DOE Funding: $2,000,000
Total Value: $9,993,082