Geochemical Behavior of REEs in Laterite of MacroAsia's Infanta Nickel Area,
Palawan, Philippines: A Preliminary Study
Kosei Noda1, Kotaro Yonezu1, Gabo Jillian1,
Jaypee Juanerio2, Edna Laguerta2, Ramon Santos2 and Rogel Santos2
In recent years the high technology industries caused high demands for REE (Rare Earth Elements) to include scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y). However with the advent of new materials and technology using less or none of REE, brought a decrease in their demand and consequently the prices from the latter half of 2011. This has been one of the problems preventing for opening new mine for REEs. Thus, in terms of economic aspect, recovering REE as by-product from operating mines is an alternative step to augment supply for REEs. The fact that most of heavy REEs are supplied from weathered granite deposits alternative sources as by-product for REE including Sc are sources related to Ni laterite deposits. This led in considering such unlikely sources to study on REEs with Sc and Y in lateritic nickel deposits. A manifestation of the potential of a Ni laterite source is the fact that Sumitomo Metal Mine’s intent to build a scandium pilot plant to recover scandium from nickel laterite in its Coral Bay Nickel Corporation plant which were extracted from Rio Tuba, Palawan and to be in operation by 2014. Therefore, this study aims to understand the geochemical behavior of REE including scandium in Ni laterite and to seek for a possibility of REE and/or scandium production as by-product at MacroAsia’s Infanta nickel area.