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Title: RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINING WASTE MATERIALS

Abstract

The objective of this proposed project was to locate coal overburden material that had rare earth elements (REEs) at concentrations of 300 ppm or higher. After securing the feedstock the next goal was to efficiently extract and purify the feedstocks to a purity of greater than 95%. A techno economic analysis was conducted to determine the economic viability of mining and processing REEs associated with Appalachian coal deposits. All aspects of mining, mineral processing, by-product potential, waste management, permitting and economics were examined. Attention was paid to the separation, degree of purification and marketing of Rare Earth elements. Along with REEs we evaluated the economics of the recovery of other metals of interest aong with the REEs. Our site location chosen was at the Jeddo Coal Site near Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The primary site was at the Upper Leigh High Mine. However, that changed to the North Eckley Mine site. We have analyzed a third site that will now be our second alternative to North Eckley. That site is the Highland mine site. This site is in a similar basin as the North Eckley site. During this project we evaluated various acids and extraction conditions. We have settled on using HClmore » as the acid of choice. One of the advantages of using HCl is it allows for easy removal of the highest contaminating metal, iron. When iron reacts with HCl in the presence of high chlorides it creates the anion complex FeCl4-1. This FeCl4-1 complex will bind with an anion exchange resin. Greater than 99.8% of the iron is removed with this technique. Once the FeCl4-1 complex is bound to the anion exchange resin it can be released easily by just passing water over it. This water dilutes the FeCl4-1 to form FeCl3 which is not anionic and therefore not attracted to the anion exchange resin. The FeCl3 solution is a popular water flocculating agent used all over the world for water purification. We plan on this being one of our products produced. One of our goals was to create a multipurpose facility that was capable of handling multiple feedstocks. The proposed multipurpose facility will be able process all coal biproducts and coal products. These include 1.) clays that can easily be leached with ion exchange or acid 2.) Hard mineral deposits that can be leached with high pressure acid digestion 3.) Fly ash can be leached in the high-pressure acid digestion reactor. Fly ash is not a focus of this proposal but, the beneficial aspect of its utilization in this design cannot be overlooked. 4.) Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Sludge is a high source of REE’s and can easily be dissolved to form a pregnant leach solution. Not shown on this simplified block flow diagram but crucial to its success is the recycle of acids. Our REE separation system is a continuous ion exchange process. The first stage is the separation of the non-REEs from the REEs. This is accomplished because the REEs are relatively larger than most of the non-REEs and typically have higher oxidation states (+3) than the non-REEs. In this step all the elements stick onto the column. However, as the columns are rinsed with various concentrations of acids different elements come off. For example, monovalent elements such as sodium and potassium elute off the column with a 1M HCl solution. Divalent elements such as calcium and magnesium do not elute until a 2M HCl solution is passed over the columns. The trivalent elements (REEs) are not eluted until a much higher concentrated acid is passed of the columns. Iron is also a trivalent, but it was removed in a prior anion exchange system. Aluminum is trivalent too, but it is much smaller than the REE atoms and elutes near the end of the 2 M HCl with the divalents. At the stage 2 and 3 our volume and masses have become too small to run on the continuous system. Therefore, we used a batch chromatography column or a flash chromatography column. The stage 2 process separates these REEs into 3 different fractions. A light, mid and heavy fraction. We calculated that we recovered greater than 90% of the REEs. This third column was packed with a different stationary phase. Five elements were chosen and purified to higher than 95% purity as shown by our internal testing. These elements were shipped to the DOE.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Inventure Renewables
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE), Clean Coal and Carbon (FE-20)
Contributing Org.:
Penn State University, TMRC
OSTI Identifier:
1560384
Report Number(s):
DOE-Inventure-30146
DOE Contract Number:  
FE0030146
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; Rare Earth Elements, coal overburden, coal biproducts

Citation Formats

Sutterlin, William. RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINING WASTE MATERIALS. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1560384.
Sutterlin, William. RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINING WASTE MATERIALS. United States. doi:10.2172/1560384.
Sutterlin, William. Wed . "RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINING WASTE MATERIALS". United States. doi:10.2172/1560384. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1560384.
@article{osti_1560384,
title = {RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINING WASTE MATERIALS},
author = {Sutterlin, William},
abstractNote = {The objective of this proposed project was to locate coal overburden material that had rare earth elements (REEs) at concentrations of 300 ppm or higher. After securing the feedstock the next goal was to efficiently extract and purify the feedstocks to a purity of greater than 95%. A techno economic analysis was conducted to determine the economic viability of mining and processing REEs associated with Appalachian coal deposits. All aspects of mining, mineral processing, by-product potential, waste management, permitting and economics were examined. Attention was paid to the separation, degree of purification and marketing of Rare Earth elements. Along with REEs we evaluated the economics of the recovery of other metals of interest aong with the REEs. Our site location chosen was at the Jeddo Coal Site near Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The primary site was at the Upper Leigh High Mine. However, that changed to the North Eckley Mine site. We have analyzed a third site that will now be our second alternative to North Eckley. That site is the Highland mine site. This site is in a similar basin as the North Eckley site. During this project we evaluated various acids and extraction conditions. We have settled on using HCl as the acid of choice. One of the advantages of using HCl is it allows for easy removal of the highest contaminating metal, iron. When iron reacts with HCl in the presence of high chlorides it creates the anion complex FeCl4-1. This FeCl4-1 complex will bind with an anion exchange resin. Greater than 99.8% of the iron is removed with this technique. Once the FeCl4-1 complex is bound to the anion exchange resin it can be released easily by just passing water over it. This water dilutes the FeCl4-1 to form FeCl3 which is not anionic and therefore not attracted to the anion exchange resin. The FeCl3 solution is a popular water flocculating agent used all over the world for water purification. We plan on this being one of our products produced. One of our goals was to create a multipurpose facility that was capable of handling multiple feedstocks. The proposed multipurpose facility will be able process all coal biproducts and coal products. These include 1.) clays that can easily be leached with ion exchange or acid 2.) Hard mineral deposits that can be leached with high pressure acid digestion 3.) Fly ash can be leached in the high-pressure acid digestion reactor. Fly ash is not a focus of this proposal but, the beneficial aspect of its utilization in this design cannot be overlooked. 4.) Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Sludge is a high source of REE’s and can easily be dissolved to form a pregnant leach solution. Not shown on this simplified block flow diagram but crucial to its success is the recycle of acids. Our REE separation system is a continuous ion exchange process. The first stage is the separation of the non-REEs from the REEs. This is accomplished because the REEs are relatively larger than most of the non-REEs and typically have higher oxidation states (+3) than the non-REEs. In this step all the elements stick onto the column. However, as the columns are rinsed with various concentrations of acids different elements come off. For example, monovalent elements such as sodium and potassium elute off the column with a 1M HCl solution. Divalent elements such as calcium and magnesium do not elute until a 2M HCl solution is passed over the columns. The trivalent elements (REEs) are not eluted until a much higher concentrated acid is passed of the columns. Iron is also a trivalent, but it was removed in a prior anion exchange system. Aluminum is trivalent too, but it is much smaller than the REE atoms and elutes near the end of the 2 M HCl with the divalents. At the stage 2 and 3 our volume and masses have become too small to run on the continuous system. Therefore, we used a batch chromatography column or a flash chromatography column. The stage 2 process separates these REEs into 3 different fractions. A light, mid and heavy fraction. We calculated that we recovered greater than 90% of the REEs. This third column was packed with a different stationary phase. Five elements were chosen and purified to higher than 95% purity as shown by our internal testing. These elements were shipped to the DOE.},
doi = {10.2172/1560384},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {8}
}