Dr. Norbert Jordan
Surface Processes
Phone: +49 351 260 - 2148

r4 – Economically strategic materials: SEM² – Rare Earth Elements Metallurgy-Advanced methods for optimized extraction and beneficiation by ion-adsorption clays

Financed by:
Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Support code: 033R127B)
Funding period:
2015/06/01 – 2018/05/31
Cooperation Partner:
G.U.B. Ingenieur AG (Dresden, Germany)
Helmholtz-Institute Freiberg of Resource Technology (HZDR-HIF, Freiberg, Germany)
Leibniz-Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK, Gatersleben, Germany)
Gesellschaft zur Förderung von Medizin-, Bio- und Umwelttechnologien (GMBU, Halle, Germany)
Norbert Jordan, Vinzenz Brendler


The main objective of the project is to develop optimized mining and processing technologies of ion-adsorption clays to recover rare earth elements (REE). The scope of this work is divided into several work packages. The workflow of these tasks is outlined below.


In detail we aim for the:

  • Development of optimized geochemical and biochemical processes for the extraction and recovery of REE (in-situ, on-site and ex-situ),
  • Process simulation of REE mobilization and separation as a basis for the development, improvement, and evaluation of methods using thermodynamic and experimental data,
  • Geotechnical channeling of REE-rich ion-adsorption clay deposits by enhancing their permeability for a more efficient leaching process.

The permeability of ion-adsorption clay soil profiles can be improved geotechnically by using cryotechnology using liquefied CO2 or N2. (Micro)Biolological processes may replace the traditionally applied leaching methods (e.g. ammonium sulfate leaching) and enable a more environmentally friendly extraction of REE. Numerical process simulation allows the chemical and biochemical optimization of the REE extraction and processing steps

At the Institute of Resource Ecology, the team focuses on the development of reliable and internally consistent databases for europium, terbium and lutetium. All available primary literature sources for Eu, Tb and Lu complexation constants (log β) and solubility products (log Ksp) with inorganic ligands (OH&minuns;, Cl&minuns;, NO3&minuns;, SO42&minuns;, PO43&minuns;, and CO32&minuns;) are being assessed. The log β of weak complexes (Cl&minuns;, NO3&minuns;) are re-evaluated by using a hypothetical reference state (at trace ligand concentration). For selected subsystems (e.g. Eu/PO43−), formation constants are determined using advanced spectroscopic tools such as Time-resolved Laser-induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy. Finally, the conditional log β and log Ksp are extrapolated to standard conditions (I = 0 M, T = 298.15 K) using the Specific Ion Interaction Theory.



  • N. Jordan, A. Barkleit, R. Steudtner, F. Bok, A. Heller, V. Brendler, Development of a quality-assured Thermodynamic Database for Rare Earth Elements. Goldschmidt 2016 (26.06-01.07.2016, Yohohama, Japan)


  • Romy Matthies, Meinolf Stützer, Gotthard Kunze, Sabine Kutschke, Norbert Jordan, Lisza Zeidler, Michael Haschke, Rare Earth Elements Metallurgy - Advanced methods for optimized extraction and beneficiation by ion-adsorption clays. International Mine Water Association Annual Conference (11-15.07.2016, KUBUS Leipzig, Germany)
  • Lisza Zeidler, Meinolf Stützer, Gotthard Kunze, Sabine Kutschke, Norbert Jordan, Michael Haschke, Optimized Extraction and Beneficiation of REE from Ion-Adsorption Clay Deposits, Madagascar. Goldschmidt 2015 (16.-21.08.2015, Prague, Czech Republic)


Dr. Norbert Jordan
Surface Processes
Phone: +49 351 260 - 2148