Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals and minerals 1978-79
Year 1978-79, Volume 1 (1978-1979)
Alverson, Larry J.
Rhenium, pp. 743-749 ff. PDF (941.1 KB)
RHENIUM 747 will include determination of metal recoveries as well as grades of concentrates of copper and molybdenum. A basis will also be determined for estimating rhenium content of the ore.6 Ore reserves are estimated at 282 million tons to a depth of 300 feet below sea level, having an overall mean average grade of 0.27% copper and 0.014% molybdenite. Chile.—Production of rhenium in Chile in 1978 was estimated at 4,400 pounds, contained in approximately 7,000 pounds of ammonium perrhenate. The molybdeniteroasting plant of Molibdenos y Metales, S.A. (MOLYMET), which processes concentrate from the Chuquicamata, El Teniente, El Salvador, and Andina mines, is the only Chilean firm that recovers rhenium. These four mines have rhenium concentrations of approximately 230 ppm (parts per million), 440 ppm, 570 ppm, and 350 ppm, respectively, and are a major source of the world's rhenium supply. The El Teniente mine, south of Santiago, holds the world's largest reserve of rhenium, an estimated 1.5 million pounds (enough to supply current world demand for 100 years). The ore contains an average 1.5% copper and 0.04% molybdenum. Los Pelambres is a porphyry coppermolybdenum deposit located about 125 miles north ofSantiago and 25 miles east of Salamanca at an altitude greater than 10,000 feet above sea level. Reserves are estimated at 472 million short tons of ore grading 0.78% copper and 0.03% molybdenum. Assuming 300 ppm rhenium in MoS2, rhenium content would total over 140,000 pounds. The property was purchased by Anaconda Co. in late 1979, for an estimated $20 million. Anaconda plans to spend between $6 million and $8 million over the next 3 years on exploratory drilling. China, Mainland.—One of the world's largest copper deposits will be developed by Fluor Corp. and is to begin operation in 1984. The deposit has proven reserves of 8.8 million tons of copper with recoverable quantities of rhenium. It is located in Tensing County, about 100 miles east of Nanchang in Kiangsi Province in eastcentral China. Exploration was continuing at the site, and additional reserves seemed likely to be verified. Hungary.—Exploration drilling in the late 1960's led to the discovery of the Recsk porphyry copper deposit. This deposit, in the Matra Mountain area of northern Hungary, is now being developed for mining. The copper mineralization is in the form of chalcopyrite with associated pyrite. Molybdenum and rhenium are present in the ore in reportedly recoveralbe quantities. By selective mining of the skarn and porphyry ores, the operators plan to maintain an average grade of 1.3% copper for a production of up to 2.5 million tons of ore annually. Eventually, twice this quantity may be mined.~ Mexico.—The Caridad copper mine came onstream on June 2, 1979, about 1 year behind schedule. At full capacity, the mine was expected to produce 600,000 tons per year of concentrate, averaging 32% copper. A flotation plant was expected to be onstream in early 1981 to produce 2,000 tons per year of molybdenum sulfide concentrate. It is not known whether recovery of the contained rhenium will be attempted. Proven reserves are 680 million tons of ore, grading an average 0.67% copper and 0.02% molybdenum. Assuming 250 ppm rhenium in MoS2, rhenium content would total over 100,000 pounds.8 Poland.—A new method of recovering rhenium from ore reportedly was developed by the Non Ferrous Metals Institute at Gliwice. The process was put into practice at the Huta Miedzi copper works at Glagow, which now produces several hundred pounds of rhenium per year. Romania.—Romanian Chemical Enterprises (ROMCHIM) and UOP Inc. reached agreement for the foreign trade company to license 13 process units at several locations in Romania. Included in the agreement are three Platforming process units, each with a 500,000-ton-per-year naphtha feed for production of high-octane gasoline. Similar UOP bimetallic catalysts are used extensively in reforming operations worldwide. U.S.S.R.—Oil shales in the Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan regions of central Asia contain concentrations of molybdenum and rhenium. These concentrations may be extracted by acid solutions. The rhenium concentration in the Tadzhikistan region ranges from 0.74 ppm at the Rauat deposit to 12 ppm at the Garauty deposit; in the Uzbekistan region the concentration ranges from 0.2 ppm in the Baysum deposit to 21 ppm in the Urtabulak deposit.~ Yugoslavia.—The Bor and Majdanpek porphyry copper mines in mideastern Yugoslavia contain recoverable quantities of molybdenum and rhenium as well as other minor metals such as germanium and gallium. Additional porphyry deposits are found at Dunitri Potok, Valja Stary, and Cerova, northwest of V~liki Krivelj. They
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