In February 2019 Dr. Tiina Leiviskä and MSc. Hanna Virpiranta visited Prof. David Barrie Johnson’s group Bangor Acidophile Research Team (BART) in Bangor University, Wales, UK. Hanna stayed there for two weeks working alongside with other visiting and post-doctoral researchers of the team. She acquired a lot of knowledge of e.g. operating sulfate-reducing bioreactors, plating of anaerobic microbes, and conducting bioleaching experiments, that she can exploit in her further research.
LKAB are planning to invest 45 million kronor in pilot plants for recovery of phosphorus and Rare Earth Minerals (REE) from the waste rock from their iron ore mining operation. This development was announced on 20 February 2019, read more here
The pilot plant trial is based on the CleanMAP process developed by Easy Mining, a daughter company of the waste treatment company RagnSells. Details of the CleanMAP process are given here. This seems to be based on the US Patent 8658117 B2, which however only refers to “known processes” for the digestion of apatite with sulfuric acid, hence presumably the traditional use of concentrated sulfuric acid. This patent does not mention the procedure for separation and purification of the rare earth elements. An example of a method to recover rare earth elements from digestion of apatite with strong acid is given in the patent by Genkin et al US 1001 1891.
On the 14th February 2019, the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Fisheries approved the
operating permit for the copper mine at Reppafjord, Finnmark proposed by the Norwegian mining company Nussir. The announcement is only available in the Norwegian language on the government webpage, but details in English are provided by the High North News website.
On the 5-6 February 2019 Luleå Technical University hosted the Conference in Minerals Engineering.
The formal kick-off meeting was held in Oulu on the 22-23 November 2018, with a nominal project start date of 15 Oct 2018.
On the first (half) day the project administration was gone through with the Kolarctic Management Authority representatives.
On the second day the project workplan was discussed in detail to prepare a operational plan.