A team of scientists has developed a new process that can reduce the time to extract rare earth elements from ore from a few days to 20 minutes, as well as reduce pollution and production costs..
The standard method for extracting this group of minerals is to immerse the ore in a solution of toxic volatile chemicals that are difficult to process. This procedure for separating the desired metals can take up to a week, but researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have found a way to cut the process down to minutes.
A team of scientists has developed a special substance consisting of a mixture of alkylphenoxycarboxylic acids. Looking at it under a microscope, you can see countless solid particles a few micrometers wide. After the material is mixed with fine-grained particles of rare earth ore, the process of extraction and deposition begins.
According to the researchers, the whole procedure takes about 20 minutes, and the technique can be used to recover valuable minerals from mines or even leached waste. Innovation also allows you to reduce production costs and environmental pollution, as the mixture can be easily recycled.
The Chinese government is serious about mining rare earths as the country accounts for about a third of the world’s reserves and 90% of international supplies. This group of minerals is used in high-tech products, from semiconductors to smartphones to stealth jet fighters. Therefore, Beijing has already hinted to the United States that in response to the termination of the supply of chips and processors Huawei, it may restrict the export of rare earths..
We also previously reported that scientists have found a way to produce high-quality cement from industrial waste without CO2.
Rare Earth – Get Ready 1970 (Original MV Stereo)
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Reuters