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ArticleName Rare-earth metal ore processing technologies when developing new deposits
DOI 10.17580/or.2020.06.08
ArticleAuthor Yushina T. I., Petrov I. M., Cherny S. A., Petrova A. I.

NUST MISIS (Moscow, Russia):

Yushina T. I., Head of Chair, Candidate of Engineering Sciences, Associate Professor,


INFOMINE Research Group (Moscow, Russia):
Petrov I. M., General Director, Doctor of Engineering Sciences


Berezniki Branch of PNRPU (Berezniki, Russia):
Cherny S. A., Head of Chair, Candidate of Economic Sciences, Associate Professor


Research Institute of Comprehensive Exploitation of Mineral Resources of RAS (IPKON) (Moscow, Russia):
Petrova A. I., Postgraduate


The article provides a brief overview of processing technologies for rare-earth raw materials used under greenfield development projects in different countries of the world (Africa, Greenland, Australia, Canada). The projects feature deposits with different mineral compositions, mass fractions of rare-earth metals (REM) in ores of 0.2 to 15 %, and the presence of niobium, zirconium, tantalum, phosphorus, uranium, and thorium. The resulting production facilities will extract 180 kt to 7.2 Mt rare-earth ore annually to generate 1.5 to 20 kt oxides of heavy and light groups of rare-earth metals along with the rare metals. The analysis of technologies for the projects considered demonstrates that magnetic and radiometric separation, dense-medium concentration and flotation with hydrometallurgical processing in the form of leaching with sulfuric or hydrochloric acid, followed by extraction of the target products, will be used for the processing of rare-earth raw materials. A characteristic feature of a number of projects is, first of all, the direct hydrometallurgical processing of the feed. The concentration technologies for ores containing rare-earth metals also indicate a clear trend towards a more active use of high-intensity magnetic separation. The main products to be obtained with these technologies will include composite concentrates of oxides or carbonates of rare-earth metals. At the same time, the commissioning dates for the projects are being repeatedly postponed; the implementation of many projects remains uncertain, which is largely due to the stagnant dynamics of global prices for rare-earth metals.

keywords Rare-earth metals (REM), ores, processing, process flows, bastnesite, monazite, flotation, high-intensity magnetic separation, hydrometallurgical processing

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