Challenges for heavy rare earth production: lessons from Japan

AUTHORS: Yasushi Watanabe

ABSTRACT: Heavy rare earth elements (HREE) have been produced from ion-adsorption type deposits in southern China. Despite extremely low REE grades (0.2-0.05wt.%) of the deposits, the exploitation of REE from this deposit type is very competitive because of the easiness of REE extraction. For the purpose of producing heavy REE outside China, a variety of sourcesare examined. They are 1) ion adsorption deposits outside China, 2) HREE-rich carbonatites, 3) alkaline rock complexes, 4)sediment-hosted phosphates associated with uranium mineralization, 5) xenotime associated with tin granites,and 6)submarine mud.This presentation reviews the geological, mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of these deposit types and discusses the challenges for heavy rare earth production from hard rocks.

KEYWORDS: Heavy rare earth elements, carbonatite, apatite, xenotime, alkaline rock

EAN: SGA_2013_A002
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