REE ultra-rich karst bauxite deposits in the Pedernales Peninsula, Dominican Republic: Mineralogy of REE phosphates and carbonates

Cristina Villanova-de-Benavent, Joaquín A. Proenza, Lisard Torró, Thomas Aiglsperger, Cristina Domènech, Diego Domínguez-Carretero, Xavier Llovet, Pol Suñer, Australia Ramírez, Jesús Rodríguez

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Karst bauxites have recently received renewed attention for their potential as non-conventional REE sources. Karst bauxites from the Pedernales Peninsula in the Dominican Republic stand among the world's richest in REE. Bauxite ore from two deposits from this bauxite district, Aceitillar and El Turco, have been selected for this study due to their outstanding REE contents and contrasting mineralogy. REE (La to Lu) contents in Aceitillar, range from 0.07 to 0.16 wt%, and Y from 0.01 to 0.13 wt%, whereas El Turco contains between 0.28 and 1.40 wt% REE, and 0.33 to 1.48 wt% Y. The characterisation of REE mineralisation was performed through powder and monocrystal XRD, SEM-EDS, and EMP analyses. REE phosphates and carbonates reveal textural features that suggest significant REE mobilisation and re-deposition within the bauxite profile. The identified REE minerals can be classified into: i) primary monazite(-Ce) and minor monazite(-La); ii) secondary Y- and Nd-dominant phosphates; and iii) secondary Gd- and Nd-carbonates of the (hydroxyl)bastnäsite group. While monazites are ubiquitous in the two studied deposits, secondary phosphates are predominant in El Turco while secondary carbonates are exclusive of Aceitillar. This contrasting mineralogy is explained by the total concentration of carbonate and/or phosphate in the karst bauxite groundwater solutions. REE phosphates are the most stable phases at [CO32−]total/[PO43−]total ≤ 2; whereas REE carbonates are stable at near neutral pH when the total aqueous carbonate concentration is two orders of magnitude higher than that of phosphate. Results of this investigation contribute to a better understanding of the formation REE minerals in the supergene environment and can be applied in REE separation methods.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo105422
PublicaciónOre Geology Reviews
EstadoPublicada - jun. 2023


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