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Characterization of rare-earth resources at Mountain Pass, CA using high-resolution X-ray microtomography (HRXMT)

Minerals & Metallurgical Processing , 2013, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 10-17

Lin, C.L.; Hsieh, Ching-Hao; Miller, J.D.


The characterization of rare-earth resources in 3D is now possible using high-resolution X-ray microtomography (HRXMT) to describe ore texture and mineral phase composition. In addition, detailed texture analysis, including grain exposure and mineral association, can be described. Preliminary examination of a sample of Mountain Pass ore is reported to describe the spatial distribution of the mineral phases (calcite, barite and bastnaesite), particularly the grain size distribution of bastnaesite. The examination includes analysis of selected particle size classes to determine the appropriate size for liberation of the rare-earth mineral bastnaesite. Good liberation is expected to be achieved if the material is ground to a top size of -150 μm.