October 3, 2023

Research, Technology & Innovation

The global reach of Florida innovations

Mike Vogel | 8/31/2021

Recovering Critical Minerals



The United States is spending big to secure America’s future supply of minerals used in manufacturing electronic vehicles, satellites and wind turbines. Congress in June approved $250 billion in tech R&D funding that includes money to expand the mining and processing of critical minerals here and in allied countries.

Orlando-based Precision Periodic’s moment, then, seems to have arrived. The privately held company, based at UCF’s business incubator, developed Nano Beads, a nanotech-based filtering process that pulls gold, silver, copper, cobalt, lithium, rare earths and other elements from an acidic solution, such as mine leach. This year, it opened a pilot project at an old tin mine in Cornwall in England to extract the battery metal lithium from mine brine.

Traditional mining processes produce abundant tailings with noxious ingredients. Mining is financially viable only with high concentrations of minerals. Precision says its nano tech, in contrast, has advantages in cost, speed and cleanliness. It requires no pre-treatment, heat or pressure and isn’t energy intensive. It has a small footprint and recovers 95% to 100% of minerals in the first pass. The process uses fairly benign chemicals like pool cleaning acid and its only by-product is water. “Our technology changes the game because we produce no pollution,” CEO Brian J. Andrew says. Its pitch to resource owners in a presentation: “Don’t leave anything behind.”

The tech was developed to extract uranium, thorium and rare earths from Florida phosphate mining sludge and waste. (Florida’s a rich source of phosphate.) Andrew says a single Florida phosphate mine could produce 230 metric tons of rare earths a year, or a quarter of the annual U.S. military demand. The Phosphate Research Institute, impressed by initial labs results, invited the company onsite to reproduce the results. The institute says the process then showed a very low recovery of rare earth elements, although the technology appears to work well for recovering other materials.

Tags: Around Florida, Research & Development, Technology/Innovation, Innovation, Feature

Florida Business News

Florida News Releases

Florida Trend Video Pick

Looking for weekend plans? St. Pete Pier Fall Festival to bring games, food vendors and more
Looking for weekend plans? St. Pete Pier Fall Festival to bring games, food vendors and more

If you're a fan of fall, there's an event coming to St. Pete Pier this weekend that you'll want to check out – the St. Pete Pier Fall Festival.

Video Picks | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you believe that home values in Florida have finally peaked?

  • Absolutely!
  • No way!
  • The jury's still out...
  • Other (Let us know in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701

© Copyright 2023 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.