Characterization and Techno-economic Feasibility of Physical Separation of Rare Earth Elements in Coals from East Kootenay Coalfields, British Columbia

Rare Earth Elements (REE) are a group of 17 elements in the periodic table including 15 lanthanides and two transition metals: Scandium and Yttrium. These elements are used in a wide variety of products including light-emitting diodes, wind turbines, fiber optics, lasers, batteries, guidance systems, and superconductors. Due to supply restrictions, the elements are classified as critical elements. Coal deposits with enriched concentrations of valuable trace elements are referred to as metalliferous coals or coal-hosted metal deposits. These metalliferous coal deposits or coal-hosted metal deposits are viewed as a potential source of metals, and attempts have been made to extract aluminum, gold, platinum group metals, vanadium, and zinc. Further, coal deposits with enriched concentrations of REE are identified across the world. With critical supplies of REE, these coal deposits are currently being assessed as secondary sources for exploitation. This study focuses on understanding the presence of REE in BC coalfields and study the potential enrichment using physical separation processes.

Faculty Supervisor:

Maria Holuszko


Patrick Ansah Aboagye


Geoscience BC




Professional, scientific and technical services


University of British Columbia



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