Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Economic Potential of Rare Earth Elements in the Philippine Phosphogypsum

Version 1 : Received: 14 July 2021 / Approved: 15 July 2021 / Online: 15 July 2021 (09:10:36 CEST)

How to cite: Ramirez, J.D.; Diwa, R.R.; Palattao, B.L.; Tabora, E.U.; Bautista VII, A.T.; Reyes, R.Y. Economic Potential of Rare Earth Elements in the Philippine Phosphogypsum. Preprints 2021, 2021070342 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0342.v1). Ramirez, J.D.; Diwa, R.R.; Palattao, B.L.; Tabora, E.U.; Bautista VII, A.T.; Reyes, R.Y. Economic Potential of Rare Earth Elements in the Philippine Phosphogypsum. Preprints 2021, 2021070342 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0342.v1).

Abstract

The majority of the phosphogypsum produced by a fertilizer plant in the Philippines is just stockpiled, which is considered a liability with no commercial prospects. It is important that we find use of this industrial waste by-product sooner than it becomes an environmental issue. Our study investigated the economic potential of the phosphogypsum by determining its rare earth elements (REE) composition. Phosphogypsum samples were collected from 2 m-depth trenches at 0.5 m intervals in 24 locations in the tailings ponds. ICPMS analysis of the phosphogypsum samples shows that the ponds have a mean Ʃ REE + Y concentrations of 266.15 mg kg-1. The individual REE concentrations are within the world average concentrations in phosphogypsum, although there is relative depletion of Yb, Tb, and Tm. There are huge variations in REE concentrations between the ponds, likely because these are produced from the processing of more than ten types of exported phosphate rocks since the start of operation of the fertilizer plant in 1980s. The major REE abundance is in the order of Y (26 %) > Ce (25 %) > La (16 %) > Nd (15 %). There is an estimated 66 M USD worth of REE oxides in the phosphogypsum ponds with a potential added value of 3.3 to 6.6 M USD for 1 to 2 Mt phosphogypsum produced annually at 50 % recovery rate. This study provides a comprehensive REE concentration and economic analyses of Philippine phosphogypsum produced from different types of imported phosphate rocks for potential REE extraction.

Subject Areas

phosphogypsum; REE; tailings pond; phosphate industry

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