Mining and Critical Materials

Mining and Materials Processing

PreProcess has led the entire chemical processing execution of a $1B rare earths effort.   We have also consulted on various lithium processing and spodumene mining efforts.  


Desired materials must be separated from the gangue.  Many reaction and separation techniques are involved to get to the final product set.   PreProcess uses many traditional chemical engineering unit operations in a unique sequence to extract and separate target constituents.  


Starting with something as simple as a block flow diagram, PreProcess identifies process steps and the correct partners to comprise a team of teams to execute the project.  

Chemical Processing

PreProcess builds the chemical processing sides of mining efforts integrating with the mining team to create seamless transfer of materials.  We execute project leadership, engineering development, and new construction as well as troubleshooting existing operations.

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Rare Earths

Rare earths are extracted from bastnasite ore using many common hydrometallurgical methods designed for the particular application.    Demand for rare earths has been variable due to the dominant positions of producers in the market.  A typical rare earths operations can be broken down into the following major unit operations, each a plant onto themselves.  

  1. Mining
  2. Milling
  3. Tails
  4. Separation
  5. Concentration
  6. Purification
  7. Product Conversion
  8. Utilities

The critical factor for the rare earths plant is control of the separation effectiveness.  As with all combined mining and chemical operations, the efficient use of energy and water is also critical to the success of the plant.  The detail is a fascinating and exciting chemical engineering endeavor.  

Mining & Chemical Industry Study Definitions

The mining industry is typically driven by NI 43-101 and chemical industry typically follows FEED (FEL) processes. 


PreProcess is fluent in both methods.  Click the link for a comparison of terms.   

Mining and Chemical Industry Study Definitions