Project description: Rare earths play an important role in many high technology applications. Examples include high-performance magnets used in electric motors for electric vehicles and in gearless wind turbines, as well as fluorescent materials in energy-saving lamps and light-emitting diodes. Due to the high growth rates in these markets, demand is expected to increase significantly in the coming decades, which cannot be met without expanding primary production.

Rare earth gypsum has proven to be a potentially very sustainable and economically interesting source for the production of rare earths, such as the large quantities of gypsum produced as a by-product in the production of fertilisers in Catalão, Brazil. Up to now, the gypsum, together with the rare earths, has been used as a soil conditioner or stored in stockpiles. The project consortium under the leadership of Ceritech AG wants to change this and bring the rare earths to an economic use. An important secondary aspect is that no additional mining and infrastructure is required. This leads to a considerable cost advantage with an excellent environmental balance. Further consortium partners are the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, with its working group "Petrology and Deposit Science", and the Technical University of Clausthal with its Chair for Raw Material Processing and Recycling. The project is supported by the associated Brazilian partner "Modelling and Mineral Processing Research Laboratory, Universidade Federal de Goiás".

The overall goal of the project is to bring the process already developed by Ceritech to industrial maturity within the next two years. The task of Clausthal University of Technology is to develop a hydrometallurgical process for the extraction of high-purity, marketable rare earth products.

Association partner:

  • Ceritech AG, Germany
  • TU Clausthal, Germany
  • Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
  • Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil

Sponsored by:

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Subsidy reference number: 033R187B

Subsidy reference number: 033R187B