US-EU Supply Chain of Critical Rare Earths Production Initiative
Striving for resource efficiency, Estonia
NPM Silmet OÜ featured in the 2022 Responsible Care Awards Gallery: ‘striving for resource efficiency’
NPM Silmet OÜ (affiliate of Neo Performance Materials) and Energy Fuels Inc. launched new rare earth production initiative spanning European and North American critical material supply chains. The initiative is producing value-added rare earth products from natural monazite sands, a by-product of heavy mineral sands mined in the southeastern United States. Energy Fuels will process the monazite sands into a mixed rare earth carbonate for use as feed material for Neo’s value-added separated rare earth production plant NPM Silmet, Estonia (EU), which is the only operational rare earth separations facility in Europe. NPM Silmet has been separating rare earths into commercial value-added products for more than 50 years. NPM Silmet OÜ products are used in the automotive, aviation and electronic industries, as well as in high-tech applications.
The main aim of the initiative is to support US and Europe’s plan for sustainable and circular economy and use of feedstock coming from other regions
- The initiative was launched in the beginning of 2021 and industrial scale was reached in 2022, reaching the following deliverables: highly scalable material
- High magnetic rare earth element (REE) content
- Utilizes existing mining operations
- Utilizes existing processing capabilities
- No new permit or licenses required for operations
- Diversifies EU REE supply chain
- High capital efficiency
This initiative has unlocked the economic and environmental potential presented by utilizing low-cost rare earth feedstock from monazite ore that is a by-product of existing mining. It helps to ramp up rare earth production in Estonia just as Europe accelerates vehicle electrification and other initiatives aimed at mitigating climate impacts.