A Novel Chemicals' Scheme for the Flotation of Bastnaesite Ore

Case ID:

This invention is a flotation method for removing heavy earth metals from Bastnaesite ore. It works by reducing the flotation temperature to a cost-efficient level and simplifying the flow sheet. Results show that 80-90% REE recovery and <20% gangue recovery are achieved at 40°C-60°C, which yield a rougher concentrate of 30%~40% REO. The new scheme is of both high selectivity and high recovery, meanwhile the dosage of reagent required is much less, and the flotation temperature is also significantly reduced.


Bastnaesite is the most important ore mineral at the Mountain Pass mine in San Bernardino, California near the Nevada border. It is an important ore of the rare earths, especially the lighter end members, including europium. Bastnaesite is also an important ore mineral at a number of other rare earth mines in China, including several deposits in Sichuan Province, and the massive deposit at Bayan Obo, Inner Mongolia. Although Mountain Pass closed in the early 2000s, a Chinese minority shareholder, acquired Mountain Pass in July 2017 with the goal of reviving America's rare earth industry. The company resumed mining and refining operations in January 2018. It is the only rare earth mining and processing facility in the United States, thus making it critical for securing the supply chain of rare earth metals domestically in the United States.



  • Improving the rare earth recovery of Bastnaesite Ore
  • Mining ore minerals at other mines around the world



  • Highly selective
  • High recovery
  • Minimizes the dosage of reagent
  • Significantly reduces the flotation temperature
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Tariq Ahmed
Sr Licensing Manager, College of Engineering
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Jinhong Zhang
Dongbo An