Ionic is moving to complete the acquisition of rare earths separation and magnet recycling tech firm Seren Technologies.

Due diligence confirmed SerenTech’s rare earth element (REE) separation and refining tech could unlocking the enormous downstream value of its basket of REEs at its Makuutu project in Uganda.

Ionic Rare Earth’s (ASX:IXR) managing director Tim Harrison added that its other tech to recover individual magnetic REEs such as neodymium and dysprosium from existing magnets offered strong recycling potential across Europe, the UK and the US.

The company has now executed the share purchase agreement, with completion pending approval from the UK Government expected within weeks.

“Preliminary test work has confirmed high separation factors at more moderate pH conditions compared to alternative options for REE separation, along with recent enhancements in the magnet recycling flowsheet which will potentially further improve the commercial attractiveness of the technology,” Harrison said.

“A new pilot plant program is planned to commence in Q2 2022 which will feed into the next phase of validation prior to a potential demonstration plant later in 2022.”

“Additionally, the company plans to initiate a new engineering study on the magnet recycling project to revise the prior 2018 study up to 2022 basis to confirm expected operational and capital cost estimates to feed into commercialisation plans.”

He added that the SerenTech team had identified a number of opportunities to move rapidly in the scale up from demonstration to commercial development of the technology for magnet recycling.

“Initial discussions with potential industry participants have identified significant interest to take advantage of SerenTech’s hydrometallurgical magnet recycling technology for the extraction and refining of magnet rare earths for use in new high specification magnets,” Harrison said.

“Finally, the acquisition of SerenTech provides IonicRE with an inhouse test work capability to execute new test work programs which is expected to complement the development of IonicRE’s refinery flowsheet.

“The IonicRE team has been engaging with the SerenTech team to map out next steps to help validation of key process chemistry and design criteria inputs for the Refinery Scoping Study.”

SerenTech advantage

The acquisition of SerenTech will also improve the company’s end to end rare earth vertical integration and supply plans and has the potential to reduce the number of stages required to separate valuable heavy REEs.

In addition, Ionic has identified near-term opportunities to optimise the magnet recycling flowsheet, which have been demonstrated by recent test work.

The company has started a new piloting program to commence for the integrated magnet recycling flowsheet ahead of planned demonstration plant later in 2022 and has begun preliminary discussions with magnet recycling initiatives in Europe and the US.




This article was developed in collaboration with Ionic Rare Earths, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.