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Research funded by the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department at Montana Tech investigated various methods of extracting and refining rare earth elements (REEs) from mineral ores and concentrates. Extensive thermodynamic, thermogravimetric and differential thermal analyses were performed to evaluate the relative stabilities of various REE compounds in order to assess potential methods for selective separation and recovery of specific REEs. Conversion of rare earth oxides (REO) to rare earth chlorides or bromides is a possible initial step in pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical processing of REEs. REO can be converted to chlorides or bromides by roasting in the presence of a chloridizing or bromidizing reactant. (e.g. NH4Cl and NH4Br).
Lyons, Katie; Downey, Jerome; Gaede, Dan; and Ruffier, Bryce, "Thermodynamic Analysis of Rare Earth Chlorination and Bromination Processes" (2015). 2015 Undergraduate Research. 1.