A comparison of global rare earth element (REE) resources and their mineralogy with REE prospects in Sri Lanka

N. M. Batapola, N. P. Dushyantha, H. M.R. Premasiri, A. M.K.B. Abeysinghe, L. P.S. Rohitha, N. P. Ratnayake, D. M.D.O.K. Dissanayake, I. M.S.K. Ilankoon, P. G.R. Dharmaratne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rare earth elements (REEs), a group of 17 elements comprises 15 lanthanides, scandium and yttrium, are largely attracting the world's attention due to their importance in a wide variety of advanced technological applications. Global REEs production is mainly sourced from resources, such as carbonatites, alkaline igneous rocks, placers, laterites, and ion-adsorption clays. Recently, REE demand has been escalating, especially due to the REE applications in renewable energy and defense sectors, expecting a worldwide shortage of REE supply in the future. Therefore, REEs have been widely accepted as strategic elements in the world, which compels to prospect for new and alternative REE resources. In this context, Sri Lanka has a favorable geological setting which implies the presence of REE mineralization. Previous geochemical studies in Sri Lanka have reported significant concentrations of REEs in different geological formations and mineral resources. Accordingly, Pulmoddai and other beach placer deposits, Eppawala carbonatite, alluvial placer deposits, and pegmatites have been identified as potential REE resources in Sri Lanka. Monazite, apatite, allanite, and zircon are the primary rare earth (RE) minerals found in the preceding resources. The Pulmoddai mineral sand deposit is considered as the most potential REE resource in the island, which is enriched in monazite containing more than 61% of light rare earth elements (LREEs). Similarly, Eppawala carbonatite contains high concentrations of LREEs. However, despite their significant REE enrichments, to date, no attempt has been made to recover these REE prospects, which essentially conceals their potential of catering for both local and global REE supply chains.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th Congress of the Geology Geodynamics and Mineral Resources of SE Asia (GeoSEA)
PublisherElsevier
Number of pages15
Volume200
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2020
EventCongress of the Geology Geodynamics and Mineral Resources of SE Asia 2018 - , Vietnam
Duration: 13 Oct 201821 Oct 2018
http://www.geosea.asia/?p=165

Publication series

NameJournal of Asian Earth Sciences
PublisherElsevier
ISSN (Print)1367-9120

Conference

ConferenceCongress of the Geology Geodynamics and Mineral Resources of SE Asia 2018
Abbreviated titleGeoSEA 2018
Country/TerritoryVietnam
Period13/10/1821/10/18
Internet address

Keywords

  • Eppawala carbonatite
  • Global REEs
  • Pulmoddai mineral sand deposit
  • Rare earth geology
  • Sri Lanka

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