Development and Applications of High Technology Materials

Verification Survey For Radioactive Rare Earth  (REE) Minerals in Northern Palawan
RareEarth
Project Leader:

Rolando Y. Reyes
Head, Nuclear Materials  Research Section
Atomic Research Division
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Project Members:

Edmundo P. Vargas
Estrellita U. Tabora
Socorro P. Intoy
Botvinnik L. Palattao

Objectives:

1.  To identify areas with anomalous REE contents and radioactivity

2.  To recommend more detailed evaluation of the new prospective sites that  could be undertaken

Project Summary: Rare earth elements (REE)  such as scandium, yttrium and the lanthanoids are crucial elements in the production of electronics and in the renewable energy industry. Considered as strategic minerals,  the occurrence of REE deposits has been  identified  by PNRI in the northwestern part of Palawan through earlier geochemical surveys and studies in the 1990s.  Stream sediments in the northern part of Palawan indicated relatively promising REE contents but have not been investigated further. The project therefore is a combined verification geochemical stream sediment and radiometric survey to identify and recommend a detailed evaluation of prospective sites. Collection of stream and heavy minerals at selected streams and rivers in northern Palawan,  along with radiometric measurements,  will be undertaken. Samples are then analyzed for REE and thorium using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) and uranium determination using fluorimetry, including atomic absorption spectroscopy for other trace elements of economic value.
Significance: Identification of the occurrence of REE deposits in the northern Palawan.
Target Beneficiaries: Mining and mineral industry; community/settlers; health sector; tourism industry.
Project Duration: 2013 to 2016.
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Enhancing National Capacity for Extraction of Uranium, Rare Earth Elements and other Useful Commodities from Phosphoric Acid
ExtrationOfUranium
Project Leader:

Rolando Y. Reyes
Head, Nuclear Materials  Research Section
Atomic Research Division
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Project Members:

Edmundo P. Vargas
Estrellita U. Tabora
Socorro P. Intoy
Botvinnik L. Palattao

Objectives: To optimize  the use of all components in the processing of phosphates in the context of appropriate national mineral policies and the application of best available technologies.
Project Summary: This is a seven-year (2014 to 2021), PNRI-led, strategic partnership project between the Philippines’ public and private sectors supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It is focused on maximizing social, economic and environmental benefits to a wide range of Philippine industries, such as energy, mining and minerals processing, agriculture and information & communication technologies (ICT). This will be achieved  by optimizing returns from phosphate ores and phosphate fertilizers and the associated  mineral resources that may be derived from the phosphate value chain, notably through the extraction, processing and use of rare earth elements, uranium and phosphogypsum, each of which may be found in economically interesting quantities in or closely associated with phosphates.
Significance: The project aims to establish a comprehensive management and use of all the resources, both primary and secondary, associated with the production of phosphate fertilizers which will result to positive social, economic and environmental benefits.
Target Beneficiaries: Fertilizer and extractive Industries, agricultural, environmental and health sectors.
Project Duration: 2014 to 2021.
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Comprehensive Extraction of Uranium, Rare Earth Elements and Other Valuable Resources from Wet Phosphoric Acid
WetPhosphoricAcid
Project Leader:

Rolando Y. Reyes
Head, Nuclear Materials  Research Section
Atomic Research Division
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Project Members:

Edmundo P. Vargas
Estrillita U. Tabora
Socorro P. Intoy
Botvinnik L. Palattao

Objectives:

1.  To characterize the feed ore and process streams of the fertilizer plants.

2.  To determine uranium, thorium, rare earth elements (REE) and other valuable elements from wet phosphoric acid.

3.  To develop an optimal process of recovering uranium, thorium, rare earth, and other valuable elements from wet phosphoric acid on a laboratory scale.

Project Summary:

Phosphate rock, which is one of the main sources of fertilizers, also contains trace amounts of naturally-occurring radioactive materials such as uranium and thorium, including rare earth elements (REE). During production of chemical fertilizers, these trace amounts of radioactive materials and REE become embedded in the produce fertilizers, consequently being wasted during fertilizer application in agricultural fields.

Uranium and REEs  have their places in the global market. Thus, recovery of these elements poses profitability and positive environmental impacts. The project aims to recover these precious resources. As the first of its kind in the Philippines, the project is conducting an extensive research on phosphates.

Phase 1 of the project will focus on the conduct of a high-level feasibility study through detailed characterization of feed ore and process streams as well as the regulatory, legal & financial aspects.

Phase 2 will comprise the optimization of the method for extracting uranium, rare earth elements, and other valuable resources from wet phosphoric acid on a laboratory scale.

Significance:

1.  Eliminates the potential risk from the build-up of radionuclide and heavy metals through effective removal in phosphate fertilizer;

2.  Long term economic gain from extraction; and

3.  May serve as a future model for the extractive industry in the Philippines

Target Beneficiaries: Fertilizer and extractive industries, agricultural, environmental and health sectors.
Project Duration: 2014 to 2016.
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