Accelerated Reactive Carbonation Process (ARCP) for Energy Efficient Separation of Rare Earth Minerals

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Reno, Nevada
Project Term:
02/09/2023 - 02/08/2026

Technology Description:

The University of Nevada, Reno, aims to develop a new beneficiation process for energy efficient comminution and separation of rare earth elements (REEs) from domestic sources. The team will develop and test an accelerated reactive carbonation process integrated with ore sorting and high-pressure grinding rolls to enable improved mineral liberation, energy-efficient comminution (grinding), and enhanced separation of rare earth elements from low-grade bastnaesite-bearing ores. Ore sorting will pre-concentrate silicate rich REE bearing ores which will be pre-crushed by high pressure grinding rolls. The treated ores will be carbonated to convert silicate minerals to carbonate minerals therefore reducing the overall ore hardness. The softened ores will save the comminution energy by 50%, and the enhanced mineral liberation will increase the total REEs yield by at least 20%.

Potential Impact:

The MINER program aims to use the reactive potential of CO2-reactive ore materials to decrease mineral processing energy and increase the yield of energy-relevant minerals via novel negative emission technologies.


MINER metrics meet the U.S. need for net-zero, commercial-ready technologies that provide energy-relevant minerals for economic and national security.


In addition to demonstrating carbon negativity, the proposed technologies will quantify and reduce our impact on environmental and human health by addressing ecotoxicity, acidification of air, smog, water pollution, and more.


MINER metrics specify increasing the yield of energy-relevant minerals by reducing unrecovered energy-relevant minerals in tailings in by 50% compared with state of the art.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Prof. Pengbo Chu
Press and General Inquiries Email:
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