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Uranium and rare earth elements in Hazm El-Jalamid phosphate, Saudi Arabia: concentrations and geochemical patterns comparison

Khater, Ashraf E. M., Galmed, Mahmoud A., Nasr, Mahmoud M., El-Taher, Atef
Environmental earth sciences 2016 v.75 no.18 pp. 1261
aluminum, atomic absorption spectrometry, barium, calcium, chromium, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorite, potassium, rare earth elements, scanning electron microscopy, silicon, sodium, strontium, uranium, Egypt, Florida, Morocco, Saudi Arabia
This work was carried out to analyze and compare Hazm El-Jalamid phosphate ores—Saudi Arabia with other ores, for their uranium (U) and rare earth elements (REE) abundance and geochemical pattern. Fifteen representative phosphate ore samples were collected from three phosphate mines (Hazm El-Jalamid and Umm Wu’al) in Saudi Arabia and (El-Sibayia) Egypt and analyzed for some elements (Si, Al, Fe, Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cr, Ti, Mn, P, Sr and Ba), U and REEs using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Detailed studies of the Hazm El-Jalamid phosphorite samples were conducted using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). The average U contents in the Hazm El-Jalamid samples were considerably lower than those of other phosphate ores from different origins and countries. The SEM–EDX analyses reveal the presence of uranium-bearing minerals (apatite) and uranyl vanadate minerals [carnotite, K₂ (UO₂)₂(VO₄)]. The highest REE concentration values were recorded for La in all samples, followed by Ce and Nd. The lowest REE concentrations were recorded for Tm in all samples. Hazm El-Jalamid phosphate samples are highly enriched in heavy REEs (HREEs) and depleted in light REEs (LREEs), except for La. The REEs exhibit the same behavior in the phosphate deposits of Hazm El-Jalamid, Umm Wu’al, El-Sibayia, Florida and Morocco and the opposite behavior in the phosphate deposits from Jordon and Kola, which are enriched in LREEs (except for La) and depleted in HREEs.