ARTYKUŁY NAUKOWE Przegląd głównych minerałów pierwiastków ziem rzadkich – złoto XXI wieku

Paweł Ryder, Monika Nowak


Review of the major minerals of rare earth elements – gold of the 21st century.
A b s t r a c t. The constant evolution of civilisation and ever more advanced technologies have forced the global economy to search for new and renewable resources. Since the 1950s, rare earth elements (REE) have played an increasingly significant role in the production of new materials. The REE form a group of 17 elements (15 lanthanides, yttrium and scandium) with special properties that distinguish them from the other elements. These unique and essential raw materials have numerous applications nowadays. Without the rare earths, many branches of industry would not be able to function. The main resources of the REE come from the rocks with mineralization enriched in minerals with a higher REO (rare earth oxides) contents. Although there are around 270 different REE-bearing mineral species, the exploitation of the REE refers to less than 10 minerals. Five major REE minerals (the major minerals from group of bastnäsite (bastnaesite), monazite, xenotime, apatite and perovskite (loparite)) are characterized and described. The REO percentage content varies from max. 16% in apatite to max. 79% in bastnäsite. The examples shown were chosen due to their importance and level of extraction. This review-paper has been based on the compilation of data from mineralogical publications, mineralogical data websites and metallurgical articles about the alloys and their compounds.

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