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Rare earth element mineralogy, geochemistry, and preliminary resource assessment of the Khanneshin carbonatite complex, Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Open-File Report 2011-1207

Prepared in cooperation with the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Afghanistan Geological Survey
By:
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Abstract

There is increased concern about the future availability of rare earth elements (REE) because of China's dominance as the supplier of more than 95 percent of world REE output, their decision to restrict exports of rare earth products, and the rapid increase in world-wide consumption of rare earth product. As a result, countries such as the United States, Japan, and member nations of the European Union face a future of tight supplies and high prices for rare earth products unless other sources of REE are found and developed (Long and others, 2010; U.S. Geological Survey, 2011, p. 128-129, 184-185). We report and describe a significant new deposit of light rare earth elements (LREE), estimated at 1 Mt, within the Khanneshin carbonatite complex of south Afghanistan. The potential resource is located in a remote and rugged part of the igneous complex in a region previously identified by Soviet geologists in the 1970s. This report reviews the geologic setting of LREE deposit, presents new geochemical data documenting the grade of LREE mineralization, briefly describes the mineralogy and mineralogical associations of the deposit, and presents a preliminary estimate of LREE resources based on our current understanding of the geology.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Rare earth element mineralogy, geochemistry, and preliminary resource assessment of the Khanneshin carbonatite complex, Helmand Province, Afghanistan
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
2011-1207
Year Published:
2011
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
National Center
Description:
v, 50 p.; Podcast of interview with Alex Demas
Country:
Afghanistan
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
Y