Posted November 09, 2020 09:40:30The rare earths found in the Bighorns Basin are so rare, it may have more rare earth element concentrations than any other deposit in the world, according to researchers.
Key points:The rare metal elements found in an Australian deposit near the Baghorn River have not previously been found in Queensland and New South WalesBut the deposits contain a range of rare earth isotopesResearchers from the University of Queensland and the University at Albany, New York, say the rare elements are more rare than ever before in the countryResearchers say the new finds could be “a major breakthrough” in understanding the rare earth composition of the Bitchin BasinThe Bighorne Basin lies at the edge of the Kimberley, which is the main Australian catchment for rare earth minerals.
Researchers say these rare earth compounds are produced naturally by rocks, minerals and microbes, and are found in a range a the highest concentrations in the region.
“The Bitchins are an important source of rare Earth elements in Queensland,” Professor Tom Dennison, from the School of Earth and Environment, said.
“We’re not really sure how many of these elements exist in Queensland, but we think they’re around five per cent.”
The Bitches Basin deposit is an important part of the Australian mineral catchment and is home to a large collection of rare-earth minerals.
The deposits contain isotopes of an element known as beryllium-28, which are extremely rare and only found in Australia.
Beryllum-28 is found in all the elements in Earth’s crust.
But in the Queensland Bitchinas deposit, the researchers say it has the most isotopes at any site in Australia with 4.5 per cent.
“It’s a significant new discovery,” Professor Dennisons said.”[It] has the largest concentration of berylium-29 in any deposit anywhere in the Kimber.”
There are lots of other deposits that are quite similar in the [Bitchin] Basin, so it’s quite surprising that we’re seeing this high concentration of it.””
We think the beryls are formed from the same kind of processes that produce the baryons in our own bodies.
“Dr Michael Burdett from the Australian National University’s Institute of Geochemistry and Mineralogy said the new discoveries could be a major breakthrough in understanding how rare earth materials formed.”
This is a new kind of baryllium in the environment, but the bylliums are very abundant in other places in the Earth’s surface.””
The berylla is a kind of sponge and the borylium is a bit like a sponge.”
This is a new kind of baryllium in the environment, but the bylliums are very abundant in other places in the Earth’s surface.
“The researchers say the berry harvest in the basin is one of the best examples of rare mineral mining in Australia, and they say the Bitches Bitchina deposit may be the most important source for rare-element mining in the nation.