Application of ferrous pyrometallurgy to the beneficiation of rare earth bearing iron ores – A review

Nebeal Faris, Rahul Ram, James Tardio, Suresh Bhargava, Scott McMaster, Mark I. Pownceby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


This review is concerned with the application of ferrous pyrometallurgy to the beneficiation and comprehensive utilization of rare earth ores enriched in iron and other valuable metals such as niobium of which a large number of such deposits exist and are located in Australia, Brazil, China, Russia and USA. Due to the complex mineralogical and textural characteristics and very fine grain size of the minerals, these ores are refractory to conventional mineral beneficiation processes. Pyrometallurgical processes typically used in the beneficiation of fine grained iron ores may solve these problems. The largest deposit of this kind and the supplier to over 90% of the world's rare earths is the Bayan Obo Fe-REE-Nb deposit of Inner Mongolia, China. This deposit has had the most research conducted regarding pyrometallurgical processing as a means to beneficiate the contained iron and rare earth metal values. A detailed case study is presented of the research carried out to date on the application ferrous pyrometallurgy for the comprehensive utilization of Bayan Obo ore and the applicability of these processes to the beneficiation of similar ore deposits outside of China is considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-30
Number of pages11
JournalMinerals Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Ferrous pyrometallurgy
  • Mineral processing
  • Niobium
  • Rare earths

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