Geochemical and mineralogical controls on the low-temperature aqueous mobility of rare earth elements (REE) in mine waste from the Nechalacho deposit, NWT
Principal Investigator: Purdy, Colin (1)
Licence Number: 15054
Organization: Queen's University
Licenced Year(s): 2012
Issued: May 15, 2012
Project Team: Colin Purdy (Principal Investigator, Queen's University), Heather Jamieson (Project Supervisor, Queen's University), (Field Assistant, Queen's University/Avalon Rare Metals Inc.)

Objective(s): To determine what controls whether rare earth elements are mobile under low temperature and moderate to high pH conditions.

Project Description: The objective of this study is to determine what controls whether rare earth elements are mobile under low temperature and moderate to high pH conditions.

Four 55 gallon barrels cut in half will be set up at Thor Lake with mine tailings in them. The tailings will be allowed to weather in the local environment. Samples of the tailings and waters in them will be sampled at the beginning, and then again later to see what changes have happened. Waters will be sampled by a tap in the bottom of the barrels. The water samples will be filtered, and their chemical state preserved using a small amount of weak acid. Tailing samples will be taken from the barrels and stored in bags. Water and tailings samples will be transported back to Queen's University, where they will be analyzed for rare earth elements using specialized analytical equipment.

This study will provide the local community with education on the impacts of a potential rare earth element mine at Thor Lake.

A thesis report will be made available to the public pending successful completion of a defense, and research may also be presented at appropriate conferences. The research results will also be published in academic journals.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 11, 2012 to August 31, 2012.