Critical materials: Researchers eye huge supply of rare-earth elements from mining waste

Science Daily  March 14, 2019 Large amounts of REEs (Rare-Earth Elements) exist in phosphogypsum (PG), a waste product from producing phosphoric acid, used in the production of fertilizers and other products, from phosphate rock. To extract REEs from PG waste a team of researchers in the US (Rutgers University, Idaho National Laboratory, industry, UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) doped synthetic phosphogypsum with six rare-earth elements — yttrium, cerium, neodymium, samarium, europium and ytterbium. They found that a mixture of chemicals produced by the bacterium Gluconobacter oxydans was efficient in recovering REEs by bioleaching. Bioleaching is less harmful to the […]