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WVU to host commissioning ceremony for rare earth extraction facility to test commercialization of cutting-edge technology

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Who: The West Virginia Water Research Institute, WVU Energy Institute and National Research Center for Coal and Energy 

Brief remarks on the research objectives, potential results and impending commercialization impact will be delivered by director of the WVU Energy Institute Brian Anderson, WVU President Gordon Gee, U.S. Department of Energy’s Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg, and Paul J. McRoberts, regional industry mining, metals and cement manager at Rockwell Automation, Inc. Representatives from the National Energy Technology Laboratory will also attend.

What: A ribbon-cutting ceremony to commission a pilot-scale plant of WVU’s cutting-edge technology to extract rare earth elements from coal waste and acid mine drainage from the Appalachian basin

The project’s goal is to test the technical and economic feasibility of scaling-up the technology to commercialize the separation and extraction process. If successful, this would provide a domestic source of rare-earth elements that currently doesn’t exist in the United States.

When: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 18

Where: NRCCE High Bay, Room G13, 1272 Evansdale Drive, Morgantown

Media Availability: Following the ceremony, inventors of the technology will be available for one-on-one interviews either in person or via phone, including Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the WV Water Research Institute and Xingbo Liu, professor and associate chair of research in mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

Members of the media who are interested in attending the ceremony or would like to schedule a phone interview should RSVP to Tracy Novak at



CONTACT: University Relations/Communications

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