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Volcanic-Derived Placers as a Potential Resource of Rare Earth Elements: The Aksu Diamas Case Study, Turkey

1
The Lyell Centre, British Geological Survey, Research Avenue South, Edinburgh EH14 4AP, UK
2
Environmental Science Centre, British Geological Survey, Nicker Hill, Keyworth NG12 5GG, UK
3
Environmental Science Centre, NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory, Nicker Hill, Keyworth NG12 5GG, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2019, 9(4), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040208
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 26 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
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Abstract

Rare earth elements (REE) are essential raw materials used in modern technology. Current production of REE is dominated by hard-rock mining, particularly in China, which typically requires high energy input. In order to expand the resource base of the REE, it is important to determine what alternative sources exist. REE placers have been known for many years, and require less energy than mining of hard rock, but the REE ore minerals are typically derived from eroded granitic rocks and are commonly radioactive. Other types of REE placers, such as those derived from volcanic activity, are rare. The Aksu Diamas heavy mineral placer in Turkey has been assessed for potential REE extraction as a by-product of magnetite production, but its genesis was not previously well understood. REE at Aksu Diamas are hosted in an array of mineral phases, including apatite, chevkinite group minerals (CGM), monazite, allanite and britholite, which are concentrated in lenses and channels in unconsolidated Quaternary sands. Fingerprinting of pyroxene, CGM, magnetite and zircon have identified the source of the placer as the nearby Gölcük alkaline volcanic complex, which has a history of eruption throughout the Plio-Quaternary. Heavy minerals were eroded from tephra and reworked into basinal sediments. This type of deposit may represent a potential resource of REE in other areas of alkaline volcanism. View Full-Text
Keywords: rare earth elements; resources; ash-fall; placer; Turkey; alkaline volcanism rare earth elements; resources; ash-fall; placer; Turkey; alkaline volcanism
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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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Deady, E.; Lacinska, A.; Goodenough, K.M.; Shaw, R.A.; Roberts, N.M.W. Volcanic-Derived Placers as a Potential Resource of Rare Earth Elements: The Aksu Diamas Case Study, Turkey. Minerals 2019, 9, 208.

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