Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from Coal Washery Plant Wastes and Coal Ashes

A new project led by our faculty member Assoc.Prof.Dr. Fırat Burat aims at the recovery of precious metals from coal wastes, which are of high economic importance and readily available in landfills and storage pools, will make significant contributions to economy. In addition, new technologies that reduce negative environmental impacts will be produced as a result of the evaluation of these wastes, which appear to be a major threat on a national and international basis. Demonstrating the recycling processes and proving their feasibility with the existing technologies will be useful at the point of application and will create added value from production.

Rare earth elements (REE) are known as industrial vitamins and are essential components of high-tech equipment such as mobile phones, computer hard drives, electric and hybrid vehicles, and televisions. It is well known that the inorganic part of coal contains high grade of REE in addition to many trace elements. Recovering these valuable elements from coal wastes poses a significant environmental and economic impact. The recovery of REEs from these secondary sources will be investigated with the cooperation between ITU and TENMAK. For this purpose, the concentration and leaching experiments will be carried out in ITU Mineral Processing Engineering Laboratories and purification of REEs by membrane processes will be performed in National Membrane Technologies Research Center (MEM-TEK) Laboratories.