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Setting the REE industry-specific criteria and their significant role in the viability of rare earth underground mining projects

Barakos, G.; Mischo, H.


To evaluate the feasibility of a future underground mining operation is a complex problem in itself, with several different parameters to be accounted for and evaluated to secure investment decisions over the viability of any potential underground mining project. This procedure gets even more complicated when it comes to exploiting rare earth deposits. Various concerns are expressed regarding the environmental impacts that an underground mining operation may cause due to the radioactivity of the rare earth elements during mining and in waste treatment. Furthermore, the fragile market and the diversified supply and demand of the different rare earth elements can significantly affect the viability of such a venture, among other factors. This paper deals with the definition and classification of the specific criteria that govern the REE mining industry. Moreover, a thorough investigation is made of how these criteria can determine not only the selection of the underground mining method to be applied, but also of the impact that they may have to the overall feasibility of any given potential project.

Keywords: rare earth elements; underground mining; sustainability; environmental impacts; balance problem

  • Open Access Logo Contribution to proceedings
    26th Annual Meeting & Conference of the Society of Mining Professors, 21.-26.06.2015, Freiberg, Deutschland
    Proceedings of the 26th Annual Meeting & Conference of the Society of Mining Professors, Backnang, Stuttgart: WIRmachenDRUCK, 978-3-86012-505-2


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