Recovering rare earth ores in Vietnam: Guest scientist at HIF

News of 20 October 2017

Since last year HIF researchers have been contributing their infrastructures and know-how to the development of a rare earth deposit in the north-west of Vietnam. Prof. Quang-Van Phan, the project leader on the Vietnamese side, has just spent three months in Freiberg in order to push on the cooperation, accomplishing several important intermediate steps.

Prof. Van-Quang Phan

Prof. Quang-Van Phan


„In my home country, there is coal and ore mining. Now the government has a strong interest in recovering the rare earths from the Nam Xe deposits. It is a great pleasure to cooperate with my German colleagues and to be able to use the excellent facilities here“, Prof. Phan explains.

It is not his first time in Freiberg though. The scientist started his PhD studies at TU Bergakademie in 2003, gaining his PhD in 2007. After his return to Vietnam he continued with his position as a lecturer at Hanoi University of Mining and Geology where he became an associate professor in 2013. What is more, he has been establishing the Department of Environmental Engineering, which he heads. He goes on: „The Nam Xe deposits present a particular challenge from an ecological point of view as they contain radioactive elements. Our project is thus targeted at investigating environmentally-friendly methods in order to mine, extract and process the ores as well as selecting appropriate metallurgical processes.“

Together with HIF’s Dr. Robert Möckel and Thomas Heinig as well as with further partners from UVR-FIA GmbH, a number of study reports have now been finalized, summing up the results of the mineralogical and geochemical analysis of the rare earth ores, of the investigation of suitable processing methods like sensor sorting, which has not been applied with rare earth ores in industry so far, and of the selection of methods necessary for dealing with the radioactive elements. On 24 October Prof. Phan will return to Vietnam.

Contact: Dr. Robert Möckel