Bayan Obo Niobium-Rare Earth-Iron Deposit, Inner Mongolia
Reference work entry
This is an unparalleled mineral deposit of rare earth elements and one of the largest iron ore deposits in the world. Located in the Baiyun Ebo District, Baotou City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Bayan Obo niobium-rare earth-iron deposit is divided into five districts, namely, the main mine, east mine, west mine, East Jieleigele and Dulahala. Geological surveys have found 73 elements and 160 minerals in the deposit, of which 30 were first discovered there, and 26 are of economic value. In July 1927, the Chinese geologist Ding Daoheng discovered the Baiyun Obo iron ore. In 1935, He Zuolin discovered rare earth element ores, including the ‘Baiyun ore’ and ‘Obo ore’, and other new rare earth element ores, such as the ‘Baotou Ore’, ‘Huanghe Ore’, ‘barium/iron/titanium ore’, ‘Daqingshan ore’, and ‘Zhonghua cerium ore’, were discovered later. The deposit accounts for at least 90% of the domestic reserves and 77% of the world’s reserves of rare earth elements (Fig. 12).
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