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ArticleName Rare metal potential of Karelia’s garnet ore
DOI 10.17580/gzh.2019.03.10
ArticleAuthor Ruchyev A. M.

Institute of Geology, Karelian Research Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Russia:

A. M. Ruchyev, Senior Researcher, ruchyov@krс


Numerous garnet ore occurrences and deposits in the Louhi, Kem and Belomorsk municipal districts of the Republic of Karelia, recognized as part of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, are known. These products of multi-stage endogenous metamorphism of Late Archean sialic and mafic rocks contain at least 49.2 M t of pyralspitic garnet. Garnet is considered as a promising non-radioactive integrated source of critical strategic metals, based on the new results of the study of microcomponent composition of this rock-forming mineral, a well-known concentrator of scandium and yttrium-group rare-earth elements (TR) (YTR=Y+Sm+Eu+...+Lu). These elements are most abundant in garnet of sialic rocks occurring dominantly as various mineral facies of paragneisses (Sc2O3—211–521 g/t; TR2O3—245–608 g/t, YTR—85.5–99.8%). Garnet of some varieties of mafic (apobasic) rocks also contains elevated rare-metal concentrations (Sc2O3—145–147 g/t; TR2O3—188–341 g/t, YTR—94.3–98.9%). In accordance with accepted minimum economic concentrations in ores (Sc2O3—0.01%, TR2O3—0.2%), scandium is a major useful constituent and TR is an associated constituent. Forecast scandium and TR resources were estimated on the basis of new data on their average concentrations in garnet and publications on garnet reserves and resources at some of its deposits and occurrences. The garnet ore targets studied are recognized as small (Sc2O3 < 1000 t) and medium-sized (occurrences Udinskoye: Sc2O3—1088 t, associated YTR2O3—1443 t; Granatovy Prospect: Sc2O3—5338 t, YTR2O3—6409 t) deposits, based on their scandium resources. The geological, geographic and economic conditions of Karelia are quite acceptable for creating and developing a scandium and YTR raw materials base and for launching rare-metal industries. Therefore, scandium and TR reserves at already known garnet ore localities should be evaluated and attempts to find new ones should be made. An acute problem is to develop technology for economic extraction of rare metals from garnet.

keywords Garnet, ore occurrences and deposits, rare metals, rare-earth metals, scandium, yttrium, forecast resources

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