The Occurrence and Concentration of Rare Earth Elements in Acid Mine Drainage and Treatment Byproducts. Part 2: Regional Survey of Northern and Central Appalachian Coal Basins
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Many modern industries rely on rare earth elements (REEs) to produce products that are essential to both civil and defense applications. In a prior study (Vass et al., 2019), the authors showed that REE grades in acid mine drainage (AMD) and associated byproduct precipitates from AMD treatment (AMDp) warrant evaluation as a feedstock for REE production. The current work extends that effort through a broad survey of 141 AMD treatment sites in Northern and Central Appalachia. In this study, 185 raw AMD and 623 AMDp field samples were obtained and analyzed to assess the REE and major metal concentrations. Results show that an average of 282 μg/L and 724 g/tonne of REEs occur in AMD and AMDp respectively. Additionally, both basins contained similar distributions of REEs, and these distributions tended to favor heavy and critical REEs when compared with traditional REE ore deposits. Geospatial analysis identified a total resource of 340 tonnes stored at the 141 sites sampled in this study. While this analysis did not quantify the basin-wide REE inventory, it does indicate the impact that processing cut-off grades will have on the overall AMDp resource base.
KeywordsAcid mine drainage Rare earth elements Coal byproducts
This material is based upon the work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under award number DE-FE0026444.
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Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the US Government. Neither the US Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the US Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the US Government or any agency thereof.
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