Geological, geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of REE-bearing Las Mercedes bauxite deposit, Dominican Republic

L. Torró, J. A. Proenza, T. Aiglsperger, T. Bover-Arnal, C. Villanova-de-Benavent, D. Rodríguez-García, A. Ramírez, J. Rodríguez, L. A. Mosquea, R. Salas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Bauxite deposits, traditionally the main source of aluminum, have been recently targeted for their remarkable contents in rare earth elements (REE). With ∑REE (lanthanoids + Sc + Y) concentrations systematically higher than ∼1400 ppm (av. = 1530 ppm), the Las Mercedes karstic bauxites in the Dominican Republic rank as one of the REE-richest deposits of its style. The bauxitic ore in the Las Mercedes deposit is mostly unlithified and has a homogeneous-massive lithostructure, with only local cross-stratification and graded bedding. The dominant arenaceous and round-grained texture is composed of bauxite particles and subordinate ooids, pisoids and carbonate clasts. Mineralogically, the bauxite ore is composed mostly of gibbsite and lesser amounts of kaolinite, hematite, boehmite, anatase, goethite, chromian spinel and zircon. Identified REE-minerals include cerianite and monazite-Ce, whose composition accounts for the steady enrichment in light- relative to medium- and heavy-REE of the studied bauxites. Considering the paleo-geomorphology of the study area, we propose that bauxites in the Las Mercedes deposit are the product of the erosion and deposition of lithified bauxites located at higher elevations in the Bahoruco ranges. Based on the available data, we suggest a mixed lithological source for the bauxite deposits at the district scale: bedrock carbonates and an igneous source of likely mafic composition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-131
Number of pages18
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Volume89
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Dominican Republic
  • High tech metals
  • Karstic bauxite
  • REE

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