22 Mar AMPHOS21’s NEW PROJECT DY-FLUOR is extracting dysprosium from fluorite sludge
The recovery of critical raw materials like rare earths from secondary sources is a promising option to help reduce Europe’s dependency on foreign exports. In this context, the Dy-Fluor project is a new research initiative of PROMETIA member Amphos 21 in collaboration with the Technical University of Catalonia. Together they extract Dysprosium from fluorite sludge, which is the main residue from the production of dicalcium phosphate (used as an additive to cattle and poultry nutrition). Fluorite slurries are currently disposed of in landfills in quantities of tens of thousands of tonnes per year and contain elevated concentrations of rare earth elements (REY).
The Dy-Fluor project focuses on the study of fluorite mud produced at two facilities in Spain (Flix-Tarragona and El Hondón-Cartagena, see Figure 1). A thorough geochemical and physical characterisation in previous projects has revealed this sludge is enriched in yttrium, neodymium and dysprosium at concentrations of economic interest.
The project consists of two independent tasks. The first is the treatment and purification of fluorite sludge by microflotation in a pre-industrial scale pilot plant (Figure 2) to separate yttrofluorite from gypsum, quartz and apatite. The second task is the extraction of dysprosium from the fluorite concentrate.
The project, partially funded by the Catalan Government’s agency for business competitiveness (ACCIO), will be carried out for 3 years and it is a part of Amphos 21 research strategy on Critical Raw Materials.