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Towards the Recovery of By-Product Metals from Mine Wastes: An X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy Study on the Binding State of Rhenium in Debris from a Centennial Iberian Pyrite Belt Mine

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DOI: 10.4236/jmmce.2014.22018    4,415 Downloads   5,299 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Rhenium is a very scarce element, occurring in the Earth's crust mainly carried by molybdenite (MoS2). Due to a very low availability comparative to actual industrial demand, rhenium is nowadays one of the most expensive mineral commodities and an increased interest is focused on ex- ploring residues resulting from a long-term mining, particularly of sulphide ore deposits. It is therefore noteworthy to assign the presence of rhenium (in a concentration up to 3 ppm) in the waste materials from the old sulphur factory at the abandoned mine of Sao Domingos (Iberian Pyrite Belt, Southeast Portugal), exploited since the Roman occupation of Iberia. Aiming at a potential sustainable recovery of rhenium as a by-product, X-ray near-edge absorption spectroscopy (XANES) was applied to clarify the Re-binding and mode of occurrence by comparing Re L3-edge XANES spectra obtained from mine waste samples (previously fully characterized by X-ray laboratory techniques) with similar spectra collected from Re-rich molybdenites (Mo1-xRexS2) and from Re-O model compounds configuring various valences and coordination environments of rhenium ions. Obtained results are commented, ruling out a possible Re-S binding and rather conforming with the binding of rhenium to oxygen in the analysed mine waste materials.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Figueiredo, M. , Silva, T. , Veiga, J. , de Oliveira, D. and Batista, M. (2014) Towards the Recovery of By-Product Metals from Mine Wastes: An X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy Study on the Binding State of Rhenium in Debris from a Centennial Iberian Pyrite Belt Mine. Journal of Minerals and Materials Characterization and Engineering, 2, 135-143. doi: 10.4236/jmmce.2014.22018.

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