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Minerals 2018, 8(2), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/min8020055

Rare Earth Elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Sm) from a Carbonatite Deposit: Mineralogical Characterization and Geochemical Behavior

1
Research Institute on Mines and Environment (RIME), Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), 445 boul. de l’Université, Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 5E4, Canada
2
XPS Consulting & Testwork Services, 6 Edison Road, Falconbridge, ON P0M1S0, Canada
3
Ressources Géoméga, Boucherville, QC J4B 6Y4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Process Mineralogy of Critical Metals)
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Abstract

Geochemical characterization including mineralogical measurements and kinetic testing was completed on samples from the Montviel carbonatite deposit, located in Quebec (Canada). Three main lithological units representing both waste and ore grades were sampled from drill core. A rare earth element (REE) concentrate was produced through a combination of gravity and magnetic separation. All samples were characterized using different mineralogical techniques (i.e., quantitative evaluation of minerals by scanning electron microscopy (QEMSCAN), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy with X-ray microanalysis (SEM-EDS)) in order to quantify modal mineralogy, liberation, REE deportment and composition of REE-bearing phases. The REE concentrate was then submitted for kinetic testing (weathering cell) in order to investigate the REE leaching potential. The mineralogical results indicate that: (i) the main REE-bearing minerals in all samples are burbankite, kukharenkoite-Ce, monazite, and apatite; (ii) the samples are dominated by REE-free carbonates (i.e., calcite, ankerite, and siderite); and (iii) LREE is more abundant than HREE. Grades of REE minerals, sulfides and oxides are richer in the concentrate than in the host lithologies. The geochemical test results show that low concentrations of light REE are leached under kinetic testing conditions (8.8–139.6 µg/L total light REE). These results are explained by a low reactivity of the REE-bearing carbonates in the kinetic testing conditions, low amounts of REE in solids, and by precipitation of secondary REE minerals. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbonatite; rare earth elements; gravity concentration; QEMSCAN® mineralogy; geochemical behavior; kinetic tests carbonatite; rare earth elements; gravity concentration; QEMSCAN® mineralogy; geochemical behavior; kinetic tests
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Edahbi, M.; Plante, B.; Benzaazoua, M.; Kormos, L.; Pelletier, M. Rare Earth Elements (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Sm) from a Carbonatite Deposit: Mineralogical Characterization and Geochemical Behavior. Minerals 2018, 8, 55.

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