Detailed Study on Placer Minerals (Ilmenite and Magnetite) as Economic Minerals Along Al Qahmah Beach, Southeastern Red Sea Coast, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

SGS-TR-2008-12 Abdullah I. Nabhan, Saeed A. Al Ghamdi, and Omar M. Tayeb with the collaboration of Mohammed M. Al Dabbagh
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ABSTRACT


Our knowledge about the nature of the Red Sea placer deposits is incomplete; there are many gaps, which should be filled through this technical report. The Al Qahmah placer in the southeastern Red Sea coast was identified through detailed field and laboratory studies and represents one of the richest marine provinces along the Red Sea coast with a high potential for future mining activities.  To understand and identify these deposits, heavy mineral analyses were carried out to evaluate their economic importance. Large placer mineral deposits were accumulated on the beach, dunes, sabkha and salt marsh environments, in which magnetite and ilmenite are the essential minerals detected. Fe2O3 and TiO2 concentrations exhibit great difference with 5 to 2 ratio; MLA (Mineral Liberation Analysis) technology proved that the beach placer of Al Qahmah contains the highest liberated ilmenite minerals and thus represents the highest efficiency for ilmenite mineral production. The Al Qahmah coastal area has enormous potential of placer minerals mainly for magnetite and slightly for ilmenite. On the other hand, the distribution of heavy mineral concentrations in beaches, dunes, sabkhas and wadis displays a marked change. The mineral accumulations confined in the lowlands act as geomorphologic traps, where terrigenous sediments supply the wadis; in addition, the landward migration of sediments by littoral currents drifting and aeolian processes were strongly active. For sustainable coastal mineral development, and to minimize environmental damage as a result of mining activities, proper environmental evaluation has to be planned, for successful placer mining based on proper environmental strategies.

 

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Nabhan, A.I., Al Ghamdi, S.A., and Tayeb, O.M., 2009,  Detailed study on placer minerals (ilmenite and magnetite) as economic minerals along Al Qahmah beach, southeastern Red Sea coast, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the collaboration of M.M. Al Dabbagh: Saudi Geological Survey Technical Report SGS-TR-2008-12, 36 p., 37 figs. 35 tables, 27 apps.