PyroMineral - Recovering Advanced Materials & Resources

PyroReactors extract advanced materials & valuable metals from various formats such as mine outputs, mine tailings and electronic waste

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Rare Earth Elements & Critical Materials 

 

A broken promise for sustainable future

Technological advancements have made Rare Earth Elements & critical materials (REE+) exceedingly important due to their advanced new technical applications across all aspects of society. Military, renewable energy, hybrid cars, smart phone etc. are responsible for the increased demand for rare earth elements.  The Secretary of the Interior has identified 35 critical mineral commodities, with 14 having 100% import rates, and 17 have > 50% import rates. 

 

This import dependence is particularly problematic since 75% of all REE+ come from China, and given current events, has put supply chains, U.S. companies and consumers at risk.  Furthermore, China has little concern towards environmental and societal impacts deploying countless strip mines that extract tons of ore to extract grams of REE+.  This environmentally devasting process is followed by 100s of hazardous leaching steps for recovery.  Absent technological advances, the US will become even more dependent on China since the vast capital and operations cost of environmental compliance, and societal resistance to these kinds of invasive operations, will continue to drive domestic operations out of business.

PyroREE

 

Commercially viable Critical REE+ Extraction, Separation, Processing (CRESP)

Millions of tons of industrial waste accumulate yearly from mining kaolin, phosphates, heavy mineral sands, ionic clays, iron oxides, coal, or from byproducts of combustion/refining such as fly ash and petroleum coke.  These wastes often have “tag along” REE+, encapsulated in hard silica structures, for which no viable means of recovery exists today. Hydrothermal or supercritical water with minimal additives can be a highly effective, environmentally benign solvent to break down the encapsulating structure, freeing REE+ to a recoverable state.

PyroREE utilizes the PyroReactor and PyroHeater technologies to be a paradigm shift for Critical REE+ Extraction, Separation, Processing (CRESP) effective supercritical water reactions extraction of REE+ from their silica tombs.  PyroREE extraction conditions can be Hydrothermal, or well into the supercritical domain, up to 500°C and 500 atm, giving a robust process that can be configured to ensure optimal results.  PyroREE's reactors offer a high degree of design and operational flexibility needed to utilize all available resources from various mine tailings, fly ash, to electronic waste.  Beyond the favorable capital costs of leveraging oil well technology, the unique dynamics of 1000’s of feet of flow within the reactor, optional features, also standard in the oil well industry, can improve reaction efficiency, reactor dynamics, product quality, while being long-term risk mitigation solutions.

PyroREE’s novel approach will lead to a paradigm shift providing a secure, sustainable, and economic source of domestic REE+:

  • Recovery/extraction of 500-1000 ppm REE+ from waste feedstocks

    • Repurposing waste bypasses mining, milling and hundreds of leeching steps

    • Waste feedstocks have little to no cost, while potentially mitigating disposal challenges

  • Scalable and effective PyroREE reactors can unlock 10,000+ of tons/yr of REE+ production from waste

    • Utilizes efficient and effective PyroHeater and PyroReactor technology RF skin effect heating, safely achieving 500°C/500 atm extraction conditions

    • Precise, variable, targeted delivery of activators (e.g. acids/solvents) and catalysts

    • Ability to capture solids/precipitates with fishbone laterals at various intermediate reaction conditions, with siphon pipe extraction to the surface

    • Modular commercialization realized by direct scaling from pilot

  • Small surface footprint and modular commercialization ideal for colocation at feed source and/or downstream ops

    • Waste transitions from a liability to economic opportunity

    • Configurable and flexible reactors optimized for local waste sources and/or target products

 

PyroREE can unlock up to 10,000 tons/yr of currently inaccessible domestic REE+ from waste. For example, 550,000 tons/yr of kaolin-process tailings (k-grit) contain almost 500 ppm of REE+. With a 75% utilization of available waste and a conservative 60% recovery efficiency, 225 tons annually can be concentrated from just one of the many potential feedstocks. Furthermore, decades of waste are stored in settling ponds, with ~16M tons of k-grit alone, yielding ~7500 tons of REE+.   Scandium (~75ppm) is valued at ~$200/kg in concentrated ore, which can net ~$750M/yr in revenue from one component and one waste source. Furthermore, the utilization of REE+ waste turns the liabilities of environmental management into a profit sources for industries. These activities will ignite a new economic sector that utilizes emerging downstream technologies to domestically produce REE+, making the US a global leader in sustainable energy solutions.

PyroMine

 

Hydrothermal treatment of mined ores

Under Development

Eliminating or mitigating the dangerous acid leaching steps inherent in current low-grade mining operations with a continuous flow PyroReactor system to fluidize the ore into a useful state for downstream extraction and processing. Similar to the PyroREE design, PyroMine can be optimized for the target ores and their encapsulating structures

PyroRemedy

 

Hydrothermal remediation and recovery of hazardous waste

Under Development

Unfortunately, the recovery of resources and production of energy is not always an environmentally benign process.  Unscrupulous operations and accidents release toxic chemicals and hazardous metallic components into the ground.  PyroRemedy uses PyroPole technology to heat contaminated ground mass to neutralize, mobilize and/or extract these hazardous pollutants to achieve full environmental remediation