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Element Yttrium, Y, Transition Metal


Yttrium, as an element of the 3rd group in periodic system, does not belong to the group rare earth metals; however the history of its discovery is closely connected with rare earth elements. This history commenced by Johan Gadolin's investigation of ytterbite or gadolinite, a lustrous black color mineral. Ekeberg extracted an earth from this mineral and named it yttria. 45 years later Mosander extracted yttrium, terbium and erbium from it; all these names symbolized the morphological parts of the initial mineral name. From then on all three discovered earths underwent to thorough analysis with many announcements of fake elements discoveries.


Yttrium crustal abundance is 2.0x10-3 mass %, water abundance 3x10-4 mg/l. This element is found in almost all rare-earth minerals: in xenotime, fergusonite, euxenite, gadolinite, brannerite, yttroparisite, yttrofluorite, thalenite, yttrialite and so on. Most Yttrium deposits are xenotime, euxenite and fergusonite containing alluvial deposits, granite pegmatites with xenotime and yttrium titanium tantalum niobates; also xenotime-containing hydrothermal deposits with subalkaline granitoids and yttroparisite. Yttrium may also be obtained as a by-product of some uranium ores processing which are gold-brannerite conglomerates, uraniferous phosphorites, black and brown coals, thorium(xenotime-ferritorite deposits), niobium and tantalum (fergusonite, euxenite, samarskite ores). Large scale apatite processing also may be considered as Yttrium source. Most Yttrium deposits are located in China, Russia, USA, Canada, Australia, India, Malaysia and Brazil.


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