Rare Earth Elements
The term Rare Earth Elements (“REEs”) is used to describe the 15 lanthanide elements or metals, usually grouped with yttrium and scandium; all of which display similar physical and chemical properties. REEs are used in many applications, including high strength permanent magnets (used in electric vehicles, industrial motors, air conditioners, wind and tidal turbine generators), LED lights, colour monitors, medical equipment and catalysts.
REEs are grouped as light rare earth elements and heavy rare earth elements. Europium, terbium, dysprosium, yttrium and neodymium have also been sub-identified as “critical” rare earth elements by the U.S. Department of Energy and are considered materials of significant economic importance by the EU, the U.S. and Canada.
REEs are found together in all deposits (except scandium) and are not particularly rare. They have a similar abundance in the earth’s crust to nickel, tin or tungsten; however, REE deposits containing concentrations that are economically feasible to develop are rare.
Elements Critical to New Technologies
Other Critical Elements
Rare Earths Processing Lifecycle
Lithium feldspar is a natural blend of the main mineral constituents of pegmatite, which include the lithium mineral petalite, sodium feldspar, potassium feldspar, mica and quartz. The material is easily produced due to the natural blending process and homogenization which occurred during the structural deformation endured by the pegmatite following its initial crystallization.
Potential applications include container glass, fibre glass, flat glass, ceramic tiles sanitary ware, dinnerware, frits and glazes.
Lithium feldspar is the term coined by Avalon for its unique glass/ceramic raw material potentially to be produced from the pegmatite at the company’s Separation Rapids property.
Calcium-rich feldspars are termed ‘anorthites.’ Where calcium feldspar is the predominant rock-forming mineral, the rock is termed ‘anorthosite.’
Calcium feldspar has an application as a raw material in certain glass and ceramic applications, notably certain types of fiberglass and ceramic tile formulations. Other potential applications include: refractive linings in aluminum reduction cells; raw material for rock wool manufacture; filler for certain molding compounds and specialty paper products; slag conditioner in ferrosilicon and silicon metal manufacture; and dimension or ornamental stone.
Calcium feldspar, as a component of batch feed, has demonstrated that acceptable quality glass and ceramic products can be produced, with the fundamentally important advantages of lowering the melting temperature and energy demand of the glass batch, thereby reducing energy intensity and carbon footprint.
Avalon's portfolio includes one such deposit at Warren Township for use in the glass and ceramics industry.