(705e) Characterization of Rare Earth Elements in Canadian Oil Sand Process Streams

Authors: 
Roth, E. - Presenter, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Granite, E. J. - Presenter, U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory

The concentration of rare earth elements in an Canadian oil sand ore and six oil sand waste streams were

examined using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS). The results indicated that the rare

earth elements (REEs) are largely concentrated in the TSRU tailings, similar to typical froth floatation tailings,

with a total rare earth concentration of 1380 ppm (1380 µg/g). This is a 13.5 fold increase in concentration

compared to the oil sand ore itself, and an 8 fold increase compared to average Clarke value of sedimentary

rocks. Not surprisingly the process water used for extracting the oil from oil sands and the water fraction

associated with the different waste streams had very low values of REEs that were near or below the detection

limits of the instrument. The highest total concentration of REEs in the water fraction of the samples tested was

from the mature fine tailings with a total rare earth concentration of ~ 7 ppb (7 µg/kg). These results give

insights into the possibility of recovering rare earth elements from REE concentrated waste streams generated

from oil sand processing.