LKAB Senior Vice President, Special Products Division Mr Leif Boström said that “We are going to build two pilot plants for development and preparation for full-scale industrialisation: one in the orefields and one in Uppsala. The orefields plant will produce apatite from tailings sand. The plant in Uppsala will be run by the Ragn-Sells innovation company EasyMining, which has developed the patented technology for extracting pure monoammonium phosphate (MAP) and rare earth metals from apatite.”
A sustainable future industry
Full-scale industrial production of MAP will correspond to an estimated 500 percent of Swedish demand and production of REE will amount to about 2 percent world production. The pilot phase will continue through 2020. A decision to go ahead with full-scale production may be taken in 2021.
Two main alternatives for localization of full-scale production
A pilot plant and a part of the full-scale production facilities will be situated close to LKAB’s existing plant´s in northern Sweden. Subsequent processing will take place in another location, for which three main alternatives are now being assessed. The three main alternatives are Luleå, Helsingborg and Skellefteå.
LKAB’s President and Group CEO, Mr Jan Moström said that “ReeMAP is a very good example of circular economy, of recovering and reintroducing resources. We will focus on developing an operation in the location that is the best alternative from an environmental point of view, minimises transportation of materials and utilises resources in the best way. If we succeed with the industrialisation process, we will create a whole new industry in Sweden that will supply the agriculture and engineering sectors with critical raw materials while at the same time generating jobs and value for society.”
Recycling of mine waste and collaboration with EasyMining/Ragn-Sells
From LKAB’s iron ore production, a residual product resembling sand is currently placed in tailings dams. In the ReeMAP project, LKAB intends to recover the residual product and extract rare earth metals (REE) and phosphorus products (MAP) from it. Recovery and upgrading to phosphorus and rare earth metals is enabled by a patented process that has been developed by the Swedish company EasyMining, which is a Ragn-Sells innovation company within the Ragn-Sells Group. EasyMining is a partner in the ReeMAP project.