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Mineral/Rare Earth Extraction and Processing

Rare earth elements are strategically critical materials, as they play an essential role in high-tech manufacturing markets, renewable energy technologies and national defense. The demand for rare earths has increased rapidly around the world because of its diverse applications. Recent rare earth supply restrictions within this context require new or alternative sources to be found.

Although the global reserves for rare earths were estimated as 130 million metric tons, finding highly concentrated rare earth deposits for economically viable extraction processes remain a challenge. To meet the demand, extracting rare earths from alternative sources such as coal and coal byproducts has gained extreme significance. The development of advanced separation technologies that enable the extraction of rare earth in a technically feasible, environmentally and economically benign manner is vital to revitalizing the United States domestic rare earth supply chain.

Affiliated Faculty

Recent Publications

  1. Talan, D., & Huang, Q. (2021). Separation of Radionuclides from a Rare Earth-Containing Solution by Zeolite Adsorption. Minerals, 11(1), 20.
  2. Eskanlou, A., & Huang, Q. (2021). Phosphatic waste clay: Origin, composition, physicochemical properties, challenges, values and possible remedies–A review. Minerals Engineering, 162, 106745.
  3. Talan, D., & Huang, Q. (2020). Separation of thorium, uranium, and rare earths from a strip solution generated from coarse coal refuse. Hydrometallurgy, 197, 105446.
  4. Huang, Q., Talan, D., Restrepo, J. H., Baena, O. J. R., Kecojevic, V., & Noble, A. (2019). Characterization study of rare earths, yttrium, and scandium from various Colombian coal samples and non-coal lithologies. International Journal of Coal Geology, 209, 14-26.
  5. Huang, Q., Noble, A., Herbst, J., & Honaker, R. (2018). Liberation and release of rare earth minerals from Middle Kittanning, Fire Clay, and West Kentucky No. 13 coal sources. Powder Technology, 332, 242-252.