Bayan Obo - REE & Rare metals
Rare Earth Elements
There are only a few mines that supply the entire world's demand for REEs and most of them are located in China. The largest REE mine in the world, Bayan Obo, alone provides 40-50% of all REEs. In 2016, Bayan Obo and other REE mines in China provided approximately 97% of the global supply
The mining in Bayan Obo produces the bulk of the world's rare earths and does so as a by-product of iron ore mining, recycling and implementing a environmental friendly approach termed "Green Mining". In order to crack down on illegal mining, pollution and modernize the country's mostly low-tech industry Beijing is consolidating the industry under six larger organizations with each organization assimilating dozens of smaller miners, recyclers and processors including Premier Gold Worldwide.
Our Research shows that the deposit occurs in an east-west trending Mesoproterozoic rift zone along the northern margin of the Sino-Korean Craton. Host strata are quartzite, slate, limestone, and dolomite. Dolomite is the main host rock. The orebodies are stratiform and lenticular, with masses, bands, layers, veins, and disseminations. Besides clear features of hydrothermal mineralization, the deposit also exhibits Mg, Fe, Na and F metasomatism. Sm-Nd monazite isochron age for bastnaesite and riebeckite is 1200 to 1300 Ma, whereas Th-Pb and Sm-Nd age of Ba-REE-F carbonates and aeschynite is 474 to 402 Ma.
Rare Metals - Lithium Sources
Our Rare metals occur in a wide variety of deposits located in Bayan Obo. Indium and gallium specifically are mined from the zinc ores. Additionally, concentrations of gallium can be found in bauxite, a sedimentary rock typically mined for aluminium. Our Lithium is found in three main types of deposits: brines, pegmatites, and sediments. Brines (concentrations of highly saline water) are mined for lithium by pumping the liquid from large brine bodies into holding ponds for evaporation into salts, which are further processed. A small percentage of our Lithium is also extracted from recycled sedimentary rocks, including clays, which can have up to 0.7% concentrations, but this is a much less common form of deposit than using brines or pegmatites.
Two major methods of implementing green mining reform are governmental regulation and innovative technologies. Innovative technology is something we heavily base our research and development around but better regulation generally precedes cleaner mining practices. China's new regulations for their mines are a good example of ideal government intervention with regards to the specific ideas that the laws encode. The following regulations are the most important out of those now in practice. They are being enforced to discourage illegal and environmentally careless mining.
- Efforts to shut down illegal mines and inefficient separating and smelting enterprises will continue.
- Increased monitoring of the industry will be done by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
- Requirements for an efficient electricity supply and specifications concerning the maximum energy demand per ton of rare earth's produced are also indicated.
- Minimum recycling rate for ore dressing waste water of mixed rare earth minerals (85%) and bastnaesite and ion adsorption deposits (90%) are set, as well as yield rates (92%).