DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/sgem2017H/43/S18.010

EVALUATING THE EFFICIENCY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS RECOVERY FROM TAILINGS USING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY METHODS

C. G. Borcia, L. V. Soroaga, R. I. Olariu, V. Nica, M. Pintilei
Thursday 23 November 2017 by Libadmin2017

References: 17th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2017, www.sgemviennagreen.org, SGEM2017 Vienna GREEN Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7408-28-7 / ISSN 1314-2704, 27 - 29 November, 2017, Vol. 17, Issue 43, 75-82 pp; DOI: 10.5593/sgem2017H/43/S18.010

ABSTRACT

Various sites with materials resulting from mining activities were investigated, as secondary sources for Rare Earth Elements (REE). The aim of our paper is to present the main methods used for characterizing these materials and the result of extraction processes in order to evaluate the efficiency of RRE recovery processes which are using environmentally friendly methods.
The characterization of these materials is a first task aiming to identify the best sites which can furnish the most suitable materials for concentration and extraction process. The data furnished by these investigations are used for establishing the most effective methods for concentration and subsequently extraction of REE.
Two classes of methods were used in during this task. The first class was dedicated to elemental characterization of samples, especially for their REE content. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) were used as main methods. The second class of methods aimed the mineralogical information, in order to establish the REE bearing phases. X-ray diffraction on powder samples combined with Rietveld refinement and scanning electron microscopy gave information for an exhaustive characterization of the samples.
The results helped to identify the wastes with the best potential for REE recover, which were further processed by concentration and separation processes using environmentally friendly methods. In order to evaluate the efficiency, environmental impact and feasibility of these methods, the resulting materials were investigated using the same methods described for the first step, but with a different approach due to the differences in concentration of REE.

Keywords: rare earth elements, mine tailings, elemental analysis, mineralogy, environmentally friendly recovery.

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