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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)


Page 747

 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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