Author: Paul Ploumis
04 Jun 2015 Last updated at 03:09:05 GMT
CANTERBURY (Scrap Monster): According to researchers from the Cranfield University, landfills have become abundant resources for variety of rare earth elements. The study published in Elsevier journal outlines the immense opportunities of extracting rare earth elements from landfills. It also throws light on the limitations of such extraction activities.
The initial excavations of four closed landfills in England revealed that these landfills contained huge quantities of mixed residential, commercial and industrial waste. The total waste exceeded almost 10 million tons. While digging nearly 100 feet into each of these four landfills, researchers identified rich supply of rare earths and other metals. In total 27 metals, including 16 rare earth elements were found. The value of these elements was valued at approximately $400 million.
According to researchers, the landfills could contain tons of rare earths as they are likely to contain huge quantities of electronic devices that might have been disposed before the implementation of the UK e-scrap regulation bill in 2002. The most valuable rare earth contained in these landfills was Neodymium, whose value in the four landfills totaled $9 million. The other critical elements identified include Yttrium, Europium and Dysprosium.
However, the research also states that excavation process may turn out to be expensive and tedious. Extraction of metals would have been more easy and cost-effective if the landfills had only industrial waste in them.