Experimental project for the development of new approach for beneficiation of REE from apatite-bearing rocks and waste

2019-11-18

Apatite-bearing rock
Apatite-bearing rock

Research activities in the field of recovery of Rare Earth Elements (REE) from different sources have increased dramatically during the last decade due to high demand on the market, not least for high-efficient magnets and new types of batteries. Extraction and recovery of REE from its most common source, a mineral called apatite, is challenging.

We propose to explore novel beneficiation procedure to recover REE from apatite concentrate, which may potentially open new, cheaper and more efficient methods complementary with currently used technologies in the industry. The development of REE beneficiation process will be based on acid leaching accompanied with precipitation of secondary phase strongly enriched in REE. This proposed novel approach employs precipitation of a REE-mineral phase, which can be easily recovered as REE-concentrate after the initial dissolution step of technological process. The REE can be separated at early stages of apatite processing and be included in existing technologies.  The first formed REE-phase will efficiently remove all the REE from the solution and be recovered with other possible REE carriers in the system. If successful, this method may revolutionize the recovery of REE from apatites in iron ores but can also be applied to other rock types and open a completely new avenue for future Swedish (and European) REE production.

Founding source: The ÅForsk Foundation

PIs: Jarosław Majka and Karin Högdahl

Partners: AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland and Eurobattery Minerals AB

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