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TitleGeology and market-dependent significance of rare earth element resources
AuthorSimandl, G J
SourceMineralium Deposita vol. 49, issue 8, 2014 p. 889-904, https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-014-0546-z
Year2014
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20120517
PublisherSpringer Nature
Documentserial
Lang.English
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectseconomic geology; geochemistry; rare earths geochemistry; rock analyses, rare earth elements; carbonatites; placer deposits; apatite; uranium; skarn; Ion adsorption clay; peralkaline intrusion; monzanite
Illustrationspie charts; graphs; photographs
ProgramRare-Metal Ore Systems, Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-4)
Released2014 09 04
AbstractChina started to produce rare earth elements (REEs) in the 1980s, and since the mid-1990s, it has become the dominant producer. Rare earth element export quotas first introduced by the Chinese government in the early 2000s were severely reduced in 2010 and 2011. This led to strong government-created disparity between prices within China and the rest of the world. Industrialized countries identified several REEs as strategic metals. Because of rapid price increases of REE outside of China, we have witnessed a world-scale REE exploration rush. The REE resources are concentrated in carbonatite-related deposits, peralkaline igneous rocks, pegmatites, monazite ± apatite veins, ion adsorption clays, placers, and some deep ocean sediments. REE could also be derived as a by-product of phosphate fertilizer production, U processing, mining of Ti-Zr-bearing placers, and exploitation of Olympic Dam subtype iron oxide copper gold (IOCG) deposits. Currently, REEs are produced mostly from carbonatite-related deposits, but ion adsorption clay deposits are an important source of heavy REE (HREE). Small quantities of REE are derived from placer deposits and one peralkaline intrusion-related deposit. The ideal REE development targets would be located in a politically stable jurisdiction with a pro-mining disposition such as Canada and Australia. REE grade, HREE/light REE (LREE) ratio of the mineralization, tonnage, mineralogy, and permissivemetallurgy are some of the key technical factors that could be used to screen potential development projects. As REEs are considered strategic metals from economic, national security, and environmental points of view, technical and economic parameters alone are unlikely to be used in REE project development decision-making. Recycling of REE is in its infancy and unless legislated, in the short term, it is not expected to contribute significantly to the supply of REE.
GEOSCAN ID296114