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ArticleName Comparative evaluation of methods for determination of the rare earth elements content in phosphate raw materials
DOI 10.17580/tsm.2022.01.05
ArticleAuthor Pochitalkina I. A., Kondakov D. F., Likhosherst A. E.

Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russian, Moscow, Russia:

I. A. Pochitalkina, Professor, Doctor of Technical Sciences, e-mail:
A. E. Likhosherst, 1st year Master’s student


Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry, Moscow, Russia:

D. F. Kondakov, Senior Researcher, Candidate of Technical Sciences, e-mail:


The increase in the rate of extraction and use of rare earth elements (REE) necessitates the study of their environmental and industrial safety. Despite the relatively low content of REEs in phosphate ores (less than 1.5% (wt.)), significant volumes of production of phosphoric acid and mineral fertilizers based on it require environmental monitoring of REEs both in the soil located in the immediate vicinity of phosphogypsum dumps and in the phosphate fertilizers themselves, which are the main source of REEs in it, paying special attention to the irreplaceable soils of greenhouse farms. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP – MS) occupies the leading position today among the variety of direct methods for the quantitative determination of REEs. However, for a number of domestic producers of phosphate fertilizers, the ICP – MS method is still too complicated and expensive. As an affordable alternative, we can mention the spectrophotometric method (SPM), based on the formation of a colored complex of rare-earth elements with the analytical reagent Arsenazo III. On the example of a sample of phosphorite from the Polpinsky deposit, a comparative assessment of the possibility of quantitative determination of REEs in phosphate raw materials by the ICP – MS method is presented as the most promising, as well as the SPM as the most accessible. It is shown that the sensitivity of the spectrophotometric method is sufficient for the reliable determination of the amount of REEs in the phosphate raw material. The reasons for significant errors in determination of the amount of REEs in phosphate raw materials by the photometric method and possible ways to reduce them to values comparable with the error of the method are considered.

keywords Rare earth elements, environmental monitoring, spectrophotometric method, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, phosphate raw materials, Polpinsky deposit, Arsenazo III.

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