Rare earth elements in the Seydişehir district of Konya will be utilized in many fields, such as space technology and vehicle chips to contribute to the economy. The reserves in the district hold strategic importance for the country.
The final stages of the TUBITAK project titled 'Enrichment of Critical Elements from Red Mud and Bauxite' at Konya Technical University have been reached. The project, led by Prof. Dr. Muazzez Çelik Karakaya from the Department of Geological Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences of Konya Technical University, aims to identify rare earth elements in bauxite deposits with the support of TUBITAK.
The project's lead, Prof. Dr. Muazzez Çelik Karakaya, stated that "These valuable elements are needed in advanced technology, robotic systems, defense industry, clean energy products, vehicle chips, and space technology. We need these types of elements. Let's produce these materials and prevent millions of tons of waste from being stored in waste pools."
Prof. Dr. Karakaya stated that the reserves in the Seydişehir district are of strategic importance for Turkey. "In Turkey, there are rocks called bauxite, which are particularly important as the raw material for aluminum. The processes of obtaining bauxite have been carried out in the Seydişehir-Akseki region since the 1970s. After extracting aluminum from bauxite, the remaining material is stored in waste pools, which contain valuable elements. These materials have been sitting in waste pools since 1970, and we can use them for technology, industry, competition, and contributing to the country's economy." She referred to the remaining material in waste pools as red mud, which is at least 50,000 tons per year.
Professor Dr. Karakaya stated that rare earth elements can be used in many areas of technology. He continued: "The aim of this project is to contribute to the country's economy by taking the accumulated material in this waste pool and performing various analytical processes on bauxite so that they do not remain in the pool. Rather than importing critical elements required by advanced industry and paying foreign currency, let's provide them ourselves. There are critical elements used in advanced technology materials that accumulate in these pools. We say let's recover them, not discard them, and contribute to the zero-waste project. We call these rare earth elements (REE). These are materials that are compatible with the body."
For example, rare earth elements are used in cell phones, screens, and robotic systems. Titanium can also be used to make body-friendly armor. We said we could extract their raw materials to produce these materials. We need these valuable elements for advanced technology, whether it be robotic systems, the defense industry, clean energy products, vehicle chips, space technology, etc."
Associate Professor Dr. Filiz Karaca from the Rare Earth Elements Research Institute of the Turkish Energy, Nuclear and Mineral Research Institution stated that they value the progress and results of the study conducted at Konya Technical University.
Karaca also stated: "We plan to conduct technology development studies on the resources in regions with high potential. This project is a critical and promising study that we are closely interested in for Turkey. Based on the results obtained from this study, we support the conversion of the rare earth elements into industrial products."