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School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences

The use of lignite products to pre-concentrate rare earth elements within coal-derived resources.

Project Title:

The use of lignite products to pre-concentrate rare earth elements within coal-derived resources.

Supervisor(s):

Assoc. Professor Vince Verheyen

Contact person and email address:

vince.verheyen@federation.edu.au

A brief description of the project:

Rare earth metals are valuable and there is increasing demand for them in batteries, magnets and electronics. Other valuable elements including magnesium, potassium and titanium and even gold is present. Lignites are natural concentrators of these metals from solution and ashing will further enrich their concentration. Little is known about their concentration (valuable elements) and their variability. This project would survey Latrobe Valley coals, associated clays, ashes and ash pond materials to determine if sufficient metals are present to warrant their pre-concentration and extraction. The project would include investigation into the speciation of these elements and the use of humic materials and carbons prepared from lignites as a way of concentrating them.

Potential industrial impact: new industry for Latrobe Valley’s Victorian Brown Coal deposits                                                                                                                                                            
Approximate technology readiness level: TRL-1

Available resources

  • Samples
    • Chars
    • Raw coal from various sources
    • Ashes (bottom, sluiced ash, fly ash)
    • Sluice water
    • Humic acid process waste (high in clay).
  • Analytical equipment
    • ICPMS and acid digestion equipment
    • SEM with EDS and coating equipment
    • XRD (Mt Helen collaboration)