Gallium resources in different minerals of bauxite and their implications

Summary: The distributions of gallium (Ga) of two different, geologically and geographically apart, bauxite deposits in India (Jharkhand and Gujarat) with respect to their different mineralogical phases were studied. The samples were studied under the optical microscope for their mineralogy and the electron microscope, attached with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer, to investigate the quantitative distribution and occurrence of gallium in various mineral phases. The investigation revealed the presence of gibbsite, boehmite, hematite, goethite and ilmenite in both the deposits but no separate gallium-bearing mineral phase could be identified in either of the deposits. The studies indicated that different mineral phases such as gibbsite and boehmite contain 0.09 to 0.53 % of Ga. Iron oxide phases like hematite and goethite contain 0.46 to 0.74 % Ga, whereas 0.20 to 0.96 % of Ga is present in the ilmenite phases. The association of gallium in these phases could be mainly due to adsorption during genesis.

1 Introduction

Gallium (Ga) is a rare, soft silvery metallic element with the atomic number of 31. It enjoys vast application in optoelectronics (e.g., LED’s), telecommunication, aerospace, and many commercial as well as household items such as alloys, computers and DVD’s. Over 95 % of gallium is now used in semi-conductors. Countries such as Australia, China, Germany, ­Kazakhstan, Japan and Russia are the main suppliers of primary gallium while France is the largest single source of refined gallium in the world [13]. Gallium minerals are very rare and no distinct ore deposits from which...

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