According to a report released by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2015, the world’s proven beryllium resources are more than 80,000 tons, and 65% of the beryllium resources are non-granite crystalline rock deposits distributed in the United States. Among them, the areas of Gold Hill and Spor Mountain in Utah, and the Seward Peninsula in western Alaska are the areas where beryllium resources are concentrated in the United States.
Beryllium is mostly produced by associated minerals, so there are many types of deposits, but there are three main types:
- Beryl-bearing granite pegmatite deposits are widely distributed, mainly in Brazil, India, Russia and the United States.
- The hydroxysilicon beryllium layered deposit in the tuff is a near-surface epithermal deposit. The Spor Mountain deposit in Utah, USA is a typical representative of this type of deposit. The proven reserves of beryllium oxide (BeO) are 75,000 tons, with a high grade (BeO 0.5%). The mine produces 120,000 tons of beryllium ore annually. Almost all from the mine.
- The rare metal deposit containing beryllium beryllium silicate in the syenite complex. At present, there is the Saul Lake deposit, which is only found in the Northwest Territories of Canada, and it is planned to be developed and utilized.
General Situation Of Beryllium Resources In China
The distribution of beryllium resources in China is mainly concentrated in the four provinces of Xinjiang, Sichuan, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia. The proven reserves of beryllium are mainly associated minerals, mainly associated with lithium, tantalum-niobium ores (accounting for 48%), and secondly associated with rare earth minerals ( 27%) or associated with tungsten (20%), and a small amount is associated with molybdenum, tin, lead-zinc and non-metallic minerals. Although there are many single mineral deposits of beryllium, they are small in scale and account for less than 1% of the total reserves.
The main types of beryllium deposits in China are granite pegmatite type, hydrothermal vein type and granite (including alkaline granite) type. The granite pegmatite type is the most important type of beryllium ore, accounting for about half of the total domestic reserves. It is mainly produced in Xinjiang, Sichuan, Yunnan and other places. These deposits are mostly distributed in the geosyncline fold belt, and the metallogenic age is between 180 and 180 years old. Between ~391Ma. Granite pegmatite deposits often appear as dense areas where several pegmatite dykes gather. For example, in the Altay pegmatite area of Xinjiang, there are more than 100,000 pegmatite dykes known, gathered in more than 39 dense areas. Pegmatite veins appear in groups in the mining area, the ore body is complex in shape, and the beryllium-bearing mineral is beryl. Because the mineral crystal is coarse, easy to mine and select, and the ore deposits are widely distributed, it is the most important industrial mining type of beryllium ore in China.
The hydrothermal quartz vein type beryllium ore has the characteristics of medium scale, rich grade and coarse mineral crystal. It is also one of the types currently being developed and utilized. The deposit is produced in the geotrough area, and the metallogenic age is mainly in the Yanshan period. The ore veins have obvious zoning, and the mineral composition is complex. The metal minerals are mainly wolframite, cassiterite, scheelite, and molybdenite, and beryllium is associated with it. The beryllium minerals are mostly beryl, and hydroxysilicon beryllium and solar garnet are also seen. . More comprehensive deposits of beryl- wolframite, beryl-cassiterite and beryl-polymetallic vein types are formed.
The granite-type beryllium deposits are mostly found in the trough fold belt, and the metallogenic age is mainly Yanshanian. Beryllium-bearing granite is divided into two types: acidic rock and alkaline rock. The rock mass is small in scale and appears in the shape of rock strain, rock tongue and rock cap, and the ore body is located on the top or edge of the rock mass. Two mineral combinations are often formed in acid granites: beryllium is the main component, with useful minerals such as niobium, tantalum, lithium or tungsten, tin, molybdenum and gallium, such as the Askart beryllium ore in Qinghe County, Xinjiang; Rare metals such as beryllium, such as Jiangxi Yichun 414 mine. Beryllium-bearing minerals are beryl with uniform mineralization, but the ore grade is low. Alkaline granite also has two mineral combinations, or mainly rare earth, associated with beryllium, niobium, zirconium, etc. (Balzhe Mine, Inner Mongolia), and associated beryllium (Gejiu Malag, Yunnan). Beryllium-containing minerals are hydroxysiliconite and sun garnet. The ore grade is low and the composition is complex. Granite-type beryllium ore is mostly difficult, and there are not many ore that can be developed and utilized at present.
In addition, there are beryllium-bearing streak type (Xianghualing, Hunan), greisite type (Wanfeng Mountain, Guangdong), volcanic hydrothermal type (Fulishi, Fujian), and shallow-grained rock type (Guangshui, Hubei). Except for the greisen beryllium ore, which has been exploited and utilized for a long time, other types have not yet been exploited and utilized.
Among the above types of beryllium deposits, the granite pegmatite type beryllium deposits have the greatest prospecting potential in China. In the two rare metal metallogenic belts of Altay and West Kunlun in Xinjiang, tens of thousands of square kilometers of metallogenic prospective areas have been divided. There are nearly 100,000 pegmatite veins. In addition, there is a certain prospect of finding beryllium in western Sichuan, western Yunnan, east Qinling and other regions.
To sum up, from the perspective of development and utilization, China’s beryllium ore resources have the following two characteristics:
- Beryllium ore resources are relatively concentrated, which is conducive to development and utilization. China’s industrial reserves of beryllium are concentrated in the Keketuohai Mine in Xinjiang, accounting for 80% of the national industrial reserves;
- The ore grade is low, and there are few rich ore in the proven reserves. The BeO grade of pegmatite beryllium ore mined abroad is above 0.1%, while that in China is below 0.1%, which has a direct impact on the beneficiation cost of domestic beryllium concentrate.
- The industrial reserves of beryllium account for a small proportion of the retained reserves, and the reserves need to be upgraded.
Xinjiang Super-Large Beryllium Deposit Has Proven Reserves Of 52,000 Tons
The world-class pegmatite deposit in Xinjiang is located in Hebuxer Mongolia Autonomous County in the northwest of Xinjiang. Since the large-scale prospecting and exploration in 2008, the No. 216 Brigade of China Nuclear Industry has invested a total of drilling work in the Baiyanghe mining area of the county. 190,000 meters, with a proven beryllium resource reserve of 52,000 tons, and the exploration work is nearing completion. By the end of December 2012, the accumulated reserves of beryllium ore resources discovered in the mine were 47,000 tons, and in 2013, 5,000 tons were added. It is reported that the Baiyanghe beryllium mine area is 13km², which is the largest hydroxysilicon beryllium type beryllium deposit in Asia. The average grade of the deposit is 0.1391% and the average thickness is 4.58m. The resources have been recorded by the Ministry of Land and Resources of China. Good performance, the extension of industrial ore belt is stable.
At present, the mining area has built a mine with an annual processing capacity of 80,000 tons of ore, mainly engaged in the development of beryllium ore resources in the Baiyang River area.
Beryllium Mine Production
According to data released by the US Geological Survey in 2015, the global beryllium mine production was 270 tons, of which the United States accounted for 89% (240 tons). China is the second largest producer, but its output cannot be compared with the United States. Global beryllium mine production in 2014 increased slightly compared with 2013. The details are as follows: