November 2019
Volume 71    Issue 11

The occurrence and concentration of rare earth elements in acid mine drainage and treatment byproducts: Part 1

Vass, Christopher R.; Noble, Aaron; Ziemkiewicz, Paul F.


The rare earth element (REE) industry has sought to develop ore deposits where geologic processes have produced mineralized zones with commercially attractive concentrations. These deposits are extremely uncommon, particularly in the United States. Given the criticality of these materials and the need for a sustainable domestic supply, the current research seeks to leverage the generation and treatment of acid mine drainage (AMD) as an autogenous process that can lead to concentrated REE resources. 

   While several prior studies have evaluated the partitioning and concentration of major AMD metals such as iron, aluminum and manganese, few studies to date have directly assessed the quality and quantity of REEs in AMD and AMD precipitates (AMDp). Moreover, the lack of technical data on REEs in AMD limits the ability to answer key questions regarding the size and value of a potential REE resource derived from AMD. This study seeks to answer these technical questions as well as other factors that influence the prospective usefulness of this potential resource.

Full-text paper:
Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration,


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