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Title: Rare Earth Elements in Alberta Oil Sand Process Streams

The concentrations of rare earth elements in Alberta, Canada oil sands and six oil sand waste streams were determined using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP–MS). The results indicate that the rare earth elements (REEs) are largely concentrated in the tailings solvent recovery unit (TSRU) sample compared to the oil sand itself. The concentration of lanthanide elements is ~1100 mg/kg (1100 ppm or 0.11 weight %), which represents a >20× increase in the concentration compared to the oil sand itself and a >7× increase compared to the North American Shale Composite (NASC). The process water, which is used to extract the oil from oil sands, and the water fraction associated with the different waste streams had very low concentrations of REEs that were near or below the detection limits of the instrument, with the highest total concentration of REEs in the water fraction being less than 10 μg/L (ppb). Size and density separations were completed, and the REEs and other potentially interesting and valuable metals, such as Ti and Zr, were concentrated in different fractions. These results give insights into the possibility of recovering REEs from waste streams generated from oil sand processing.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, (United States); AECOM, Pittsburgh, PA (United States)
  2. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0887-0624
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy and Fuels
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 31; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0887-0624
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Pittsburgh, PA, (United States). In-house Research
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
Country of Publication:
United States
04 OIL SHALES AND TAR SANDS; Rare Earth Elements; Oil Sands; Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS); Extraction; Trace Elements; Mine Wastes
OSTI Identifier: