Abstract

This paper reviews the available information on the geology, mineralogy, and resources of the significant rare earth element (REE) deposits and occurrences in the Murmansk Region, northwest Russia. The region has one of the largest endowments of REE in the world, primarily the light REE (LREE); however, most of the deposits are of potential economic interest for the REE, only as by-products of other mining activity, because of the relatively low REE grade. The measured and indicated REE2O3 resources of all deposits in the region total 22.4, and 36.2 million tonnes, respectively. The most important resources occur in (1) the currently mined Khibiny titanite-apatite deposits, and (2) the Lovozero loparite-eudialyte deposit. The Kovdor baddeleyite-apatite-magnetite deposit is a potentially important resource of scandium. These deposits all have polymetallic ores, i.e., REE would be a by-product of P, Ti, and Al mining at Khibiny, Fe, Zr, Ta, and Nb mining at Lovozero, and Fe and Ti mining at Afrikanda. The Keivy block has potential for heavy REE exploitation in the peralkaline granite-hosted Yumperuaiv and Large Pedestal Zr-REE deposits and the nepheline syenite-hosted Sakharyok Zr-REE deposit. With the exception of the Afrikanda perovskite-magnetite deposit (LREE in perovskite) and the Kovdor baddeleyite-apatite-magnetite deposit (scandium in baddelyite), carbonatite-bearing complexes of the Murmansk Region appear to have limited potential for REE by-products. The sound transport, energy, and mining infrastructure of the region are important factors that will help ensure future production of the REE.

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