Detecting Mineral Resources and Suggesting a Physical Concentration Flowsheet for Economic Minerals at the Northern Border Region of Saudi Arabia
Received: 8 March 2022 | Revised: 28 March 2022 | Accepted:5 April 2022 | Online: 6 June 2022
There is a limited number of studies on sand deposit resources of Saudi Arabia, which cover nearly the one-third of the area of the country, whereas most of these studies deal with the environmental rather than the mineralogical or mining aspects. In this paper, and in the effort to detect the mineral resources of the Northern Border Region, the surficial Wadi sediments along the Ar'ar-Sakaka road are studied. The deposits of several Wadies (Al Aqra, Shiban al Hanzaliyat, and Arar) are mixed. The sediments of the collected samples are investigated to determine definite areas characterized by a relatively higher content of heavy minerals and a relatively lower content of carbonate minerals that are also friable enough to be investigated by some of the available physical concentration techniques. A large quantity of the surficial deposits, weighing 4.69 tons was collected from the stretch at the investigated area which is 3km long and 1.5km wide. Evaluation of the heavy minerals content, their types, and their ability for concentration and separation, was conducted. A suggested physical concentration flowsheet was concluded for concentrating and separating the contained economic minerals. The average heavy mineral content is 1.55 wt% and the identified economic minerals are magnetite, ilmenite, hematite, goethite, zircon, rutile, anatase, monazite, and xenotime. The other contained heavy minerals include monoclinic pyroxenes (diopside, and augite), monoclinic amphibole (winchite), and muscovite mica. Dolomite and calcite carbonate are also contained. The concluding results ensure that magnetite, zircon, TiO2 minerals, and monazite are mineable for separation in individual mineral concentrates. Most of the detected economic minerals are recorded in the area for the first time. Monazite, xenotime, and zircon are responsible for some recorded radioactivity in the area.
Keywords:wet gravity concentration, high intensity magnetic separation, heavy liquid separation, X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy
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