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Geology Department Postgraduate Web Pages

Name: Melanie Maddin

Melanie Maddin

Contact Details

Phone: 0862140670

Title of Project

SEleCTOR (Separating Critical metals ThrOugh mineral crystallization)

Postgraduate research summary

REE applications in advanced technology products such as computers, high strength permanent magnets and automobiles are in high demand. This combined with growth in technological advances that are improving energy efficiency and relinquishing dependency on fossil fuels are increasing the need for REE. However, current processing methods are proving to be environmentally aggressive and can be inefficient. The finite and unsustainable nature of rare earth resources therefore requires new technology and separation methods if we want to ensure future supply that adequately supports our needs.

My aim is to determine the effect of rare earths during the crystallisation of carbonates from solution at various physiochemical conditions. It is well known that divalent and trivalent ions are strongly adsorbed on the surface of carbonate minerals thereby modifying their surface properties, as well as being incorporated into their crystal structure. However, our current understanding of rare earth bearing carbonate formation is lacking. The main objective of this research is to study the fate of rare earths during the formation of carbonates and how foreign ions affect the uptake of rare earths by amorphous and crystalline carbonates.

Name of supervisors

Dr. Juan Diego Rodriguez Blanco

Postgraduate personal details

Graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2020 with a BA in Earth Sciences.

Project Start Date

September 2020


Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)

Geological Survey of Ireland

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme