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Ion adsorption-type rare earth element (REE) deposits are the predominant source of heavy REE (HREEs) and yttrium in the world. Economic examples of the deposits are confined almost exclusively to areas underlain by granitic rocks in southern China. These deposits are termed “ion adsorption-type” because the weathered granites contain more than ~50% ion-exchangeable REY (REE + Y), relative to whole-rock REY. The ore grades range from 140 to 6,500 ppm (typically ~800 ppm) REY, and some of the deposits are remarkably enriched in HREEs. The Yanshanian (Jurassic-Cretaceous) granites that weather to form the deposits are products of subduction-related or...

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