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  • Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the multi-million dollar rare earth pilot project was “successfully” undertaken.
  • The pilot was done in partnership with Japan-based Nippon Light Metal (NLM) for the extraction of rare earth elements from bauxite residue.
  • The Minister said under the pilot, a total of just under $600 million was spent for the establishment of a Rare Earth Elements Pilot Plant.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, says the multi-million dollar rare earth pilot project was “successfully” undertaken.

The pilot was done in partnership with Japan-based Nippon Light Metal (NLM) for the extraction of rare earth elements from bauxite residue and to determine the scope of a commercial rare earth element extraction venture in Jamaica.

Speaking during the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 15, the Minister said under the pilot, a total of just under $600 million was spent for the establishment of a Rare Earth Elements Pilot Plant, “where we were able to successfully demonstrate the commercial extraction of rare earth using our bauxite residue as it has never been done anywhere in the world.”

“We are now patenting that formula, and the Government of Japan, the company and ourselves will share jointly in that patent,” he added.

The Minister noted that the project has not been progressing as would have expected, “since the market has shifted and that is the reason why the Japanese have decided to wait.”

Mr. Paulwell said that the Government is seeing additional interest from other players. “Recently, I granted exploration licences to an Australian company – Rare Metals Jamaica Limited – and they are now prospecting for rare earth. So, the project is far from dead,” he said.