China can provide many medium and heavy rare earths. However, the existing ion-adsorption rare earth mining process (ammonium salt in situ leaching technology) suffers from serious ecological damage, long leaching cycle and low resource utilization efficiency, which restricts the mining and utilization of ion-adsorption rare earth resources in China.
He Hongping’s team at the CAS Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry has developed a new technology for ion-adsorption rare earth electric mining. The core idea of this technology is to drive the activation, directional migration and rapid collection of rare earth ions in weathered crusts through an applied electric field (Figure 1). The technology has a rare earth recovery rate of more than 90%, an 80% reduction in leaching agent dosage and a 70% reduction in the content of harmful impurities in the leaching solution, which solves the environmental pollution problem caused by rare earth mining and improves the efficiency of ion-adsorption rare earth mining with green and efficient features.