Process developed for recovering terbium and battery metals from the residues of rare earth processing.
The recycling of rare earths could also become more important in the future in resource-rich China, because increasing demand due to electric mobility, among other things, would be countered by stricter environmental regulations for mining in China, explains Alan Wong Yuk-chun, co-founder of the start-up Achelous Pure Metal, in an interview with the South China Morning Post. Recovering certain materials would therefore become profitable.
Achelous is planning a plant in Hong Kong to recover rare earths from the residues of their processing. The process, based on ion exchange, was developed by Achelous in collaboration with researchers at the University of Hong Kong and is to be patented.
Currently, less than five percent of rare earth metals are recycled, the startup writes on its website. There is therefore sufficient potential for recycling, especially since China is heavily dependent on imports, particularly for the higher-value rare earths.
If the pilot project in Hong Kong is successful, Achelous plans to build a larger refining plant in Dongguan, the South China Morning Post adds.