March 23, 2013
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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the mini-pilot plant set up by Quest Rare Minerals Ltd. (TSX:QRM, MKT:QRM) for materials that come from their Strange Lake B-Zone project in northern Quebec. The plant, in Mississauga, Ontario, is hosted and operated by Process Research Ortech Inc, in conjunction with the process metallurgists on staff at Quest. The initial front-end work for the Strange Lake B-Zone flow sheet was completed at the bench scale in 2012 by Hazen Research Inc. at their facilities in Golden, Colorado. The purpose of the mini-pilot plant is to confirm the bench-scale results under continuous processing conditions.
The materials being tested come from two distinct bulk material samples from the deposit; the first is a composite that represents the materials that will be mined during the first 10 years of production at Strange Lake. The second is derived from materials that will come during subsequent production years.
The host rock at Strange Lake is a peralkaline granite; the rare-earth elements (REEs) present in the deposit are primarily found in silicate minerals such as allanite, zircon and gittinsite. Most of the undesirable minerals present are also silicates, such as quartz and feldspar; there are few phosphate minerals present.
March 17, 2013
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During a visit to Australia last month, I had the opportunity to visit the Commonwealth Scientific And Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the country's main governmental organization for scientific research and development. More specifically, I visited CSIRO's Materials Science & Engineering Division in Lindfield, New South Wales, about eight miles north of Sydney.
CSIRO is well known in many parts of the international scientific community for the quality of its work. It has its origins in the Advisory Council of Science and Industry which was founded in 1916. Today CSIRO has over 6,500 staff (approximately 5,200 full-time equivalents or FTEs) who work at 56 sites in Australia and overseas. While folks outside of Australia may not be too familiar with CSIRO, you undoubtedly are a beneficiary of some of its work; inventions at CSIRO include the underlying technology behind Wi-Fi systems, phase contrast imaging for X-ray imaging and atomic absorption spectroscopy. The organization had an annual budget in 2012-2013 of approximately AUD 1.6 billion.