MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Jan. 15, 2014) - Geomega Resources Inc. ("GéoMégA" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:GMA), in cooperation with FFE Service GmbH (Munich, Germany), is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of tests confirming physical separation of rare earth elements ("REE"). Based on free flow electrophoresis1 technology, GéoMégA's physical separation process has the potential to dramatically reduce the capital required to build separation facilities compared to conventional techniques (i.e. fractional precipitation, ion exchange and solvent extraction), optimize REE recovery and improve the environmental performance of operations.
Following months of process optimization, a series of three (3) tests have been conducted with the following characteristics:
- Selected REE in synthetic mixture are europium (Eu), ytterbium (Yb) and lanthanum (La);
- Total REE concentration is approximately 1 g/L (65 millimolar);
- Single pass separation using the prototype instrument of FFE Service GmbH (96 separation channels).
The graphic results (click here) from the three (3) tests highlight the following advantages compared to conventional techniques:
- All REE are separated simultaneously and not sequentially;
- Purity level is 100%.
The process uses no organic solvent which should have a very positive impact on the mitigation of environmental risks in addition to reducing operating costs. The next series of separation tests aims to isolate "neighbour" REE such as neodymium (Nd) vs. praseodymium (Pr) and dysprosium (Dy) vs. terbium (Tb). Results will be disclosed as they become available.
"Not only the separation occurs simultaneously, the slower and less abundant heavy REE are the easiest to isolate using our physical approach. A lot of process optimization and engineering work ahead of us but the confidence level in commercial scale-up is now very high. The world is funding research and development for a sustainable alternative to solvent extraction dominated by China, this breakthrough developed with our partners over the last two years leads us to believe we are close to succeeding." comments Simon Britt, President and CEO of GéoMégA.
Added value of REE separation
The selling price of a mixed REE concentrate is evaluated according to the distribution of each REE and the impurities of the composition. As finished products require high purity individual REE, the value of the REE in a mixed concentrate is reduced by a significant percentage, i.e. between 25% and 100%. The reduction is based on the criticality of each REE. Currently, the most critical REE are neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy) due to increasing demand for powerful permanent magnets.
The ongoing preliminary economic assessment ("PEA") for the Montviel project has a mixed REE concentrate as base case scenario. Since the separation process is in development and the potential impact very favorable, it will be excluded from the PEA base case scenario. Produced by G Mining Services Inc., the Company expects the completion of the PEA during the Company's third fiscal quarter of 2014.
NRCC Boucherville research facilities
The tests were performed in Munich, Germany by FFE Service GmbH. The Company conducted all analyses at the National Research Council Canada laboratory in Boucherville, Canada. The analyses were done on every sample using ICP-EOS spectrometer.
Dr. Pouya Hajiani, process engineer, and Dr. Gerhard Weber, CEO of FEE Service GmbH, supervised and approved the technical information of this news release.
1 Electrophoretic mobility
Electrophoresis is the migration of charged species (ions, proteins, particles) in solution in the presence of an electric field. Each ion moves toward the electrode of opposite electrical polarity. For a given set of solution conditions and electric field intensity, the migration velocity depends on a characteristic number called the electrophoretic mobility. The electrophoretic mobility is directly proportional to the charge to size ratio of the ion.
GéoMégA has filed patents in multiple jurisdictions to protect its novel separation process. In exchange for the inventor rights and to encourage the conclusive development of the separation technology, the Company shall grant to Dr. Pouya Hajiani, subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange, 1,000,000 common share purchase warrants ("Warrants"), each entitling its holders to subscribe to one additional common shares at an exercise price of $0.15 expiring July 1st, 2018. The Warrants become exercisable upon demonstration of high purity (>99%) separation, in a pilot plant using the separation technology, of the following lanthanides from the Montviel concentrate: neodymium (Nd), dysprosium (Dy), europium (Eu) and praseodymium (Pr).
About FFE Service GmbH (www.ffeservice.com)
The mission of the FFE Service GmbH is the development and advancement of Free Flow Electrophoresis (FFE) and its application in research of biopolymers and bioparticles, with the focus in the field of protein research. The simultaneous activity in development, engineering, production, service and sales of FFE-instruments will ensure the successful implementation of this high performance separation technology in universities, research centres and industry. The know how about the application of FFE is offered within cooperation with scientific groups of universities, scientific research centres and industry. Work on contract is also offered for dedicated applications of FFE.
About GéoMégA (www.geomega.ca)
GéoMégA, which owns 100% of the Montviel rare earth elements/niobium project located in Québec, is a mineral exploration and development company focused on the discovery and sustainable development of economic deposits of metals, such as rare earth elements, niobium and graphite, in Québec. GéoMégA is committed to meeting Canadian mining industry standards and distinguishing itself with its innovative engineering, stakeholders engagement and its dedication to local transformation benefits.
GéoMégA currently has 42,825,238 common shares issued and outstanding.
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Cautions Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements regarding our intentions and plans. The forward-looking statements that are contained in this news release are based on various assumptions and estimates by the Company and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. As a consequence, actual results may differ materially from results forecast or suggested in these forward-looking statements and readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. We caution you that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, as discussed in the Company's filings with Canadian securities agencies. Various factors may prevent or delay our plans, including but not limited to, contractor availability and performance, weather, access, mineral prices, success and failure of the exploration and development carried out at various stages of the program, and general business, economic, competitive, political and social conditions. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward- looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws.