Rare Earth Elements in Hydrothermally Altered Granitic Rocks in the Ranong and Takua Pa Tin-Field, Southern Thailand

Akira Imai, Kotaro Yonezu, Kenzo Sanematsu, Takashi Ikuno, Shingo Ishida, Koichiro Watanabe, Visut Pisutha-Arnond, Somchai Nakapadungrat, Jarupong Boosayasak

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Abstract

Geochemical studies were conducted on the hydrothermally altered granitic rocks in the Ranong and Takua Pa tin-fields in southern Thailand in order to investigate the mode of occurrence of REE (rare earth elements), with emphasis placed on a potential REE resource associated with granitic rocks in the Southeast Asian Tin Belt. The total REE (ΣREE) content of altered granitic rocks ranges from 130 to 350ppm at Haad Son Paen (which is presently mined for kaolin clay) in the Ranong tin-field, and that of altered granitic rocks and kaolinite veinlets reaches up to 424ppm and 872ppm, respectively, at Nok Hook in the Takua Pa tin-field. Rare earth elements in the altered granitic rocks and kaolinite veinlets show a relatively flat chondrite-normalized pattern, thus enriched in heavy REE compared with the original granitic rocks and their weathered crusts. At Nok Hook (Takua Pa), the ΣREE content of kaolinite separated from an altered granitic rock by elutriation is 1313ppm, a ΣREE amount about four times higher than that of whole-rock composition of the altered granitic rock. Chondrite-normalized REE patterns of the elutriated kaolinite and of the altered granite are relatively flat. Sequential extraction experiments suggest that 41 and 85 percent of REE are present as ion exchangeable-form in the altered granitic rock, and in the kaolinite veinlets, respectively. In addition, more than 90% of REE in the kaolinite veinlets are present as the acid-soluble state. On the other hand, the ΣREE content of kaolinite veinlets and of the kaolinite concentrated by elutriation from an altered granitic rock at Haad Som Paen (Ranong) is 70ppm and 75ppm, respectively, thus enrichment of REE in kaolinite was not confirmed. In addition, by the sequential extraction experiments, 23% and 4% of REE were extracted from the altered granitic rock and the kaolinite veinlets at Haad Som Paen. In the altered granitic rocks at Haad Som Paen, REE are present as refractory phases, and REE in the acid-soluble states had been leached by hydrothermal fluid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-98
Number of pages15
JournalResource Geology
Volume63
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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