Leaching process of rare earth elements, gallium and niobium in a coal-bearing strata-hosted rare metal deposit—a case study from the late permian tuff in the zhongliangshan mine, chongqing

Jianhua Zou, Heming Tian, Zhen Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The tuff, a part of coal-bearing strata, in the Zhongliangshan coal mine, Chongqing, southwestern China, hosts a rare metal deposit enriched in rare earth elements (REE), Ga and Nb. However, the extraction techniques directly related to the recovery of rare metals in coal-bearing strata have been little-studied in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the extractability of REE, Ga and Nb in the tuff in the Zhongliangshan mine using the alkaline sintering-water immersion-acid leaching (ASWIAL) method. The results show that ASWIAL can separate and extract REE, Ga and Nb effectively under the optimized conditions of calcining at 860C for 0.5 h with a sample to sintering agent ratio of 1:1.5, immersing at 90C for 2 h with 150 mL hot water dosage, and leaching using 4 mol/L HCl at 40C for 2 h with a liquid-solid ratio of 20:1 (mL:g). The final leaching efficiencies of REE and Ga are up to 85.81% and 93.37%, respectively, whereas the leaching efficiency of Nb is less than 1%, suggesting the high concentration of Nb in the leaching residue, which needs further extraction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number174
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkaline sintering-water immersion-acid leaching
  • Chongqing
  • Extractability
  • Tuff

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