Alternative beneficiation of tantalite and removal of radioactive oxides from Ethiopian Kenticha pegmatite–spodumene ores
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The beneficiation methods for Ethiopian Kenticha pegmatite–spodumene ores were assessed through mineralogical and quantitative analyses with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF). The tantalite in the upper zone of the Kenticha pegmatite–spodumene deposit is 58.7wt% higher than that in the inner zone. XRD analysis revealed that the upper zone is dominated by manganocolumbite, whereas the inner zone is predominantly tantalite-Mn. Repeated cleaning and beneficiation of the upper-zone ore resulted in concentrate compositions of 57.34wt% of Ta 2 O 5 and 5.41wt% of Nb 2 O 5 . Washing the tantalite concentrates using 1vol% KOH and 1 M H 2 SO 4 led to the removal of thorium and uranium radioactive oxides from the concentrate. The findings of this study suggest that the beneficiation and alkaline washing of Kenticha pegmatite–spodumene ores produce a high-grade export-quality tantalite concentrate with negligible radioactive oxides.
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