The scientists of the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IGM, Novosibirsk) have found increased content of rare earth metals in ores of the Seligdarskoye apatite deposit, localized within the Aldan shield (Yakutia).
This deposit was explored by the state enterprise Yakutgeologiya in 1970.
According to an official of the IGM’s alkaline magmatism laboratory Ilya Prokopyev, then the mining there was recognized unprofitable. After several decades, Novosibirsk geologists organized the expedition to the deposit for the samples, studied them and found minerals of rare earth metals in the ore of the Seligdarskoye deposit - lanthanum, cerium, neodymium, which are widely used in electronics, aviation, aerospace and military industries. Moreover, at the Aldan shield, where gold is most mined, several similar occurrences were found by the geologists of Yakutskgeologii during exploration of apatite bearing of the region.
"Within the Aldan shield a number of places was explored, where ore is the same as at the Seligdarskoye apatite deposit, and they may contain increased contents of rare earth metals. The estimated area of the study is with length of 400-500 kilometers from north to south," - said Ilya Prokopiev.
The main scientific achievement of the Novosibirsk geologists is the unambiguous rationale of the Seligdarskoye deposit genesis, which until now has been the subject of much debate. The scientists of IGM related the Seligdarskoye deposit to the carbonatite type. Carbonatites are materials of magmatic origin that more than 50% consist of carbonate and inherently contain high concentrations of rare-earth metals and other elements, which are important to the industry.
According to head of the IGM’s laboratory of alkaline magmatism Anna Darashkevich, the production of rare earth metals ores in Russia is only 2%, while China produces 83% of these raw materials.