Development of a production chain for rare earth elements from tailings of the ultramafic alkaline-carbonatite complex Catalão/Goiás (MoCa)

 

Project description

With approx. 22,000,000 tons rare earth oxide (REO) equivalent, Brazil possesses the second largest reserves of rare earth elements (REE) in the world. This group of 17 physical and chemical similar elements play a major role in many high technology applications. Examples are high performance magnets, which are used, inter alia, in electric motors for electric vehicles and in gearless wind turbines, as well as phosphors in energy-saving lamps and light-emitting diodes. Since Brazil promotes the implementation of a production chain for REE products and Germany has a high demand for REE products, both countries closed a strategic partnership.

Against this background, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds the research project “MoCa - Development of a production chain for rare earth elements from tailings of the ultramafic alkaline-carbonatite complex Catalão/Goiás”. CMOC International operates the Brazilian mine. The overall objective of this project is the determination of the REE production potential of the Catalão complex considering REE grade and occurrence of the REEs in minerals with respect to their processability, competitiveness and sustainability.

Picture: View to the mine in Catalão in the Brazilian state Goiás

At the Institute of Mineral and Waste Processing, Waste Disposal and Geomechanics (IFAD), an innovative mineral processing route will be developed to produce a REO concentrate from tailings to enable an economically feasible subsequent chemical processing afterwards. Due to the expected very fine grain sizes and mineral composition, the REO concentration experiments will focus on magnetic separation, centrifugal concentrators and especially pneumatic and column flotation. The subsequent chemical processing aims at the production of REOs or compounds as well as a phosphate salt as by-product for the fertilizer industry.

The project will be conducted in close cooperation between Brazilian researchers from the Federal University of Goiás and the Federal University of São Paulo, whose work is funded by CMOC International. German project partners are the FUGRO Consult GmbH, the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology, the Oeko-Institut e.V., and the mineral processing experts Dr. Imhof and Mr. Sprenger as well as Outotec Oyj as associated partner.

Follow the link for further information about the project: MoCa

Joint Partners

German project partners

  • FUGRO Consult GmbH
  • Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology
  • Oeko-Institut e.V.
  • Dr. Rainer Imhof
  • Heinrich Sprenger

Brazilian project partners

  • CMOC International
  • Federal University of de Goiás
  • Federal University of São Paulo

Support by:

 

 

Grant agreement no. 033R189A

 


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