The Occurrence States of Rare Earth Elements Bearing Phosphorite Ores and Rare Earth Enrichment Through the Selective Reverse Flotation
The reserve of rare-earth element-bearing phosphorite ores in Guizhou province in western China is huge. Increased demand for the different products manufactured from rare-earth elements has resulted in an extreme need for reasonable and comprehensive extraction of rare-earth elements. An improved understanding of rare-earth element occurrence states in single minerals of ores is important for their further processing. In this paper, rare-earth element contents were analyzed by inductively
... by inductively coupled plasma (ICP), and the occurrence states in single minerals were further investigated through SEM-EDS and focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) methods. The results indicate that rare-earth element contents of apatite are far more than that of dolomite. No independent mineral of rare-earth elements exists for the studied sample. Rare-earth elements are present in the form of ions in the lattices of apatite. Based on the analysis of occurrence states and properties in single minerals, the distribution of rare-earth elements in the flotation process was investigated by reverse flotation technology. It shows that rare-earth elements are mainly concentrated in apatite concentrate. Under the optimized conditions, the P2O5 grade increases from 11.36% in the raw ore to 26.04% in the concentrate, and the recovery is 81.92%, while the total rare-earth oxide grade increases from 0.09% to 0.21% with the recovery of 80.01%, which is similar to P2O5 recovery. This study presents the feasibility of extracting rare-earth elements from rare-earth element-bearing phosphorite ores through the flotation of apatite.