The formerly announced collaboration on phosphorus recovery between the environmental company Ragn-Sells and the state owned mining company LKAB is now taking the next step. LKAB will invest SEK 45 million in the continued feasibility study and pilot facilities in Malmfälten and Uppsala, Sweden.
The collaboration between Ragn-Sells and LKAB for the extraction of valuable minerals from mining waste began in the autumn of 2018. Laboratory tests have been conducted and show that the patented KMAP technology can produce more phosphorus and rare earth metals from LKAB's mining waste than expected.
- Thanks to the excellent results shown in our laboratory tests, we are confident to now invest in the continued pilot study and the new pilot facilities, says Jan Moström, CEO of LKAB.
To develop and prepare the technology for full scale industrialization, two pilot plants are now being built. One in Malmfälten next to the LKAB operations, and one in Uppsala located at Ragn-Sells’ innovation company EasyMining who has developed the patented KMAP technology.
- Our way of living today is based on unsustainable use of natural resources. Therefore, it is gratifying that our collaboration with LKAB contributes to the transition towards a more sustainable society where Sweden can become an exporting nation of phosphorus and other important raw materials, says Ragn-Sells’ CEO Lars Lindén.
In a full scale industry, the production of phosphorus is expected to deliver up to five times as much as Sweden's phosphorus needs, and that the production of rare earth metals will amount to 2 per cent of the global production.
The pilot phase runs until 2020 and a decision regarding investment in full scale production can be made in 2021.
- Our collaboration with Ragn-Sells is a very good example of circular economy, to reuse and recover resources, says Jan Moström, CEO LKAB.
For questions, please contact:
Lars Lindén, CEO Ragn-Sells, +46 70 927 27 78, firstname.lastname@example.org
Press contact: Medialinjen +46 70 927 24 00, email@example.com
The KMAP process is specifically developed for apatite from LKAB's mining waste. It handles the two types of apatite that LKAB produces in Kiruna and Malmberget, and co-extracts phosphorus and rare earth metals. In the process, the arsenic and fluorine contained in the apatite are separated.
Without phosphorous fertilizers, agriculture could only produce half as much food. At the same time, phosphorus is a barrier: Today there is only one phosphate deposit in Europe. It is located in Finland and produces only 10 percent of Europe's phosphorus needs. Phosphorus is listed on the EU's Critical Raw Materials (CRM) list.
The world's largest deposit is found in north western Africa. The phosphate ore contains high levels of heavy metal cadmium and uranium. LKAB's phosphorus product will be free of all heavy metals.
Facts: Rare earth metals
Rare earth metals is the collective name of a group of metallic elements. According to international conventions, a total of 17 elements are counted here. Many of them were discovered during the 17th and 19th centuries.
Today, 95 percent of the world's total production comes from mines in China. The metals are crucial for the production of computer processors, mobile phones and batteries.
The Ragn-Sells Group is a privately held corporate group, operating companies in four countries.