1Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy, Colorado School of Mines, USA
2Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Chemical Sciences Division, USA
*Corresponding author: Corby Anderson, Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy, Colorado School of Mines, USA
Submission: July 10, 2021; Published: August 02, 2021
ISSN : 2578-0255Volume7 Issue2
Interest in Rare Earth Elements (REEs) has increased due to their distinct properties and new applications. China currently has a monopoly on rare earth production due to the lack of an economically viable process used outside of China. Bastnaesite, a rare earth fluorocarbonate, is one of the most common minerals containing REEs, which is mostly comprised of cerium and other light REEs. The objective of this research is to find a novel collector for the beneficiation of bastnaesite through froth flotation experiments to increase the grade and recovery of rare earth oxides while rejecting the major gangue minerals. Microflotation and rougher bench flotation studies were evaluated to find optimal collector(s) from 19 possible candidates. Collectors 2, 5, and 8 were the top performing collectors chosen from microflotation experiments. A design of experiment matrix was set up to evaluate the variables, variable interactions, and provide a reference matrix for future optimization studies. Collector 2 was assessed to be the optimal collector. A rougher flotation experiment produced a rare earth oxide grade and recovery of 41% and 78%, respectively with a 91.5% rejection of calcite. Collector 8 and 14 also showed promising results to replace fatty acid. As such, this patent pending technology can serve to provide a pathway for efficient domestic REE production.
Keywords: Bastnaesite; Flotation; Microflotation; Rare earth elements