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Minerals 2016, 6(3), 63; doi:10.3390/min6030063

Optimization of Acid Leaching of Rare-Earth Elements from Mongolian Apatite-Based Ore

Department of Energy Resources Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, SD 57701-3995, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William Skinner
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 1 June 2016 / Accepted: 24 June 2016 / Published: 30 June 2016
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Optimization of the acid leaching process for Mongolian apatite-based ore containing rare-earth elements (REEs) was studied. The ore contained approximately 10% of REEs as total rare earth oxides, and the major impurities were Ca (33% as CaO) and Fe (23% as Fe2O3). Fe bearing minerals could be removed by passing the sample through a wet high-intensity magnetic separator before leaching. After magnetic separation, basic leaching tests were conducted to investigate the influence of the acid type and concentration, temperature, and the pH on the REE leaching level and kinetics. Hydrochloric acid was found to be the most effective leaching agent, leaching more than 90% of REEs in an hour. However, the concentrations of Ca ions in the leachate were also high, which would complicate recovery of the REEs. Therefore, to reduce the amount of Ca ions in the leachate, a two-stage leaching procedure was attempted. In stage 1, the sample was preleached using 1.0 M hydrochloric acid to dissolve Ca. In stage 2, the solid residue of stage 1 was leached using 2.0 M hydrochloric acid to dissolve REEs. Consequently, this two-stage leaching significantly reduced the Ca concentration in the final leachate without affecting the leaching levels of REEs. View Full-Text
Keywords: rare-earth element; acid leaching; apatite; magnetic separation; two-stage leaching; Ca removal rare-earth element; acid leaching; apatite; magnetic separation; two-stage leaching; Ca removal

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Kim, R.; Cho, H.; Han, K.N.; Kim, K.; Mun, M. Optimization of Acid Leaching of Rare-Earth Elements from Mongolian Apatite-Based Ore. Minerals 2016, 6, 63.

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