Publisher © Czech Geological Survey, ISSN: 2336-5757 (online), 0514-8057 (print)

Giant Bayan Obo deposit in China, Part I: The main types of ore REE-Fe-Nb-Sc


Jindřich Kynický, Hana Cihlářová, Martin Smith, Cheng Xu, Anton Chakhmouradian, Katarina Reguir, Ulf Kempe, Vašinová Galiová

Geoscience Research Reports 45, 2012 (GRR for 2011), pages 226–231
Keywords: China, Nb, Bayan Obo, ores, Fe, Sc, REE

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The Bayan Obo deposit is presently the largest deposit of rare earth elements (REE) in the world. It is mined by three giant open pits and represents also the largest Fe-, Nb- and Sc- deposit in China. The deposit has proven reserves of more than 120 Mt of REE, average grade 6 wt. % REE2O3; 2 Gt Fe ore, average grade of 35 wt. % Fe; 2.2 Mt of Nb ore, average grade 0.21 wt. % Nb2O5; 500 Kt of low grade but strategic Sc ore. There are 3 important ore types (Fe-Nb bearing massive ores, REE-Nb-Sc bearing banded ores and REE-Fe-Sc bearing disseminated ores). The strategic REE-Fe-Nb-Sc deposit is maximally intensively explored 7 days/week and 24 hours/day. The unique REE-Sc ores are not currently produced as a by product in Fe-Nb processing but as the key product of this deposit. Bayan Obo contributes almost 100 % of the global REE production (ca. 130 Kt/year).