Alkane Resources is on track to start full scale development of the Dubbo Zirconia Project, which is to be funded by Ausindustry .
Alkane Resources is set to finalise a two-year pilot project in December - the research was funded by a $3.29 million commercial ready grant from Ausindustry.
The pilot is developing novel process technology to convert a complex mineral ore into high-grade metal compounds. The technology will be used to recover zirconium chemicals, a niobium-tantalum concentrate and an yttrium rare earth concentrate.
The zirconium and niobium products are used in the expanding ceramic, catalyst, electronics, engineering, ceramic and specialist glasses and alloys industries.
The rare earths and yttrium have a developing demand in phosphors for energy efficient lighting and for applications such as rechargeable batteries and permanent magnets for the electric and hybrid car industries.