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Volcanic-derived placers as a potential resource of Rare Earth Elements: the Aksu Diamas Case Study, Turkey

Deady, Eimear; Lacinska, Alicja; Goodenough, Kathryn M.; Shaw, Richard A.; Roberts, Nick M.W.. 2019 Volcanic-derived placers as a potential resource of Rare Earth Elements: the Aksu Diamas Case Study, Turkey. Minerals, 9 (4), 208. https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040208

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Abstract/Summary

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

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.3390/min9040208
ISSN: 2075-163X
Date made live: 06 Jun 2019 15:04 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/523688

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