Feds make $4M investment in Kingston facility that processes rare earth elements

ucore rare metals - kingston

The federal government has invested $4.2 million into a Kingston facility that processes the critical minerals needed for such things as electric vehicle batteries.

The investment in Ucore Rare Metals Inc. will help scale-up and demonstrate the commercial efficacy of the company’s pending patent and Canadian-developed rare earth element separation technology platform under simulated commercial conditions. 

Instead of shipping Canada’s concentrates overseas for foreign separation, Ucore’s project will support Canada’s direct participation in the growing market of heavy and light rare earth elements. This funding will also provide employment opportunities for skilled trades and professional occupations, including Indigenous communities, the news release stated.

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In addition to electric vehicles, rare earth elements are also required for wind turbines and a variety of electronics.

“This … demonstration project shines a light on the lesser-known but equally important aspect of the critical metals supply chain in North America — rare earth elements,” said Mike Schrider, vice-president and chief operating officer with Ucore, in a news release this week. 

“A rare earth permanent magnet motor is by far the most efficient means of converting electrical energy from batteries to mechanical energy for electric vehicles and, in reverse, wind turbines … Through this project, we are moving Canada closer to fully incorporating these critical supply chain metals on a significant commercial scale.”

Through the project, Ucore will produce high-purity samples of rare earth elements (neodymium and praseodymium) and small batch samples of rare earth oxides to meet potential consumer needs. The project will attain these samples over a six-month period of processing approximately 13 to 15 tonnes of total rare earth oxides in Ucore’s facility in Kingston.

Ucore will work with local companies including Cyclic Materials and Kingston Process Metallurgy. 

The investment is funded through the Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration (CMRDD) program.

“Canada is a reliable, stable and secure supplier for critical minerals and the products they enable — we have what it takes to thrive in the low-carbon future, from abundant resources to skilled workers. Investments like this one are precisely what we need to see in order to seize the economic opportunities of the low-carbon future while creating good local jobs in communities like Kingston,” said Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen.

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