Focal areas
Resource efficiency and circular economy
titelbild szintillator

RENO-TITAN: With the scintillator through the titanium mine

The South Vietnamese province Binh Thuan is not only known for its dragon fruit plantations, but also for its vast dune landscapes of red and white sand. These dune landscapes can provide a particular raw material: heavy sands containing titanium- and zirconium-bearing minerals. The CLIENT II project RENO-TITAN takes a closer look at these mineral sands. Experts on environmental radiology from Vietnam and Germany collaborate in RENO-TITAN to determine whether the residues from heavy sand mining activities are radioactively contaminated.
Bild 1: Mitarbeitende eines Unternehmens in Südvietnam, das titanhaltige Sande abbaut, und deutsche Partner des CLIENT-II-Projektes RENO-TITAN |  Bild: Lê Hùng Anh
Image 1: Employees of a mining company in Southern Vietnam and German project partners © Lê Hùng Anh

In September 2023, kick-off meetings of the project partners took place in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The project kick-off also marked the beginning of field work in Binh Thuan Province, including sampling and inventory set-up. Equipped with GPS equipment and a scintillator, a device for measuring ionizing radiation, the RENO-TITAN team traced the path of mining, concentration and purification of heavy sand minerals in an open-pit titanium mine for several hours.

Bild 2: Messung der Ortsdosisleistung bei der Gewinnung von schwerem Sand  |  Bild: Petra Schneider
Image 2: Measurement of the local dose rate during the extraction of heavy sands © Petra Schneider

With the help of the scintillator, workplace measurements of the local dose rate were carried out, i.e. the radiation dose per unit time acting on a person from the outside was determined. While no radiation-relevant measured values were determined in the open-pit titanium mine, the concentrated minerals do indeed radiate. On the other hand, initial measurements show that the sand residue and the water used for slurrying are apparently not or only slightly contaminated. Further precise radiological measurements will be carried out in specific laboratories in Germany and Vietnam in autumn/winter 2023.

Bild 3: Die Verwertung von Bergbaurückständen ist eine Option, um - wie hier in Ho-Chi-Minh-Stadt - dem Druck auf Primärrohstoffe bei weiter anhaltender Urbanisierung zu begegnen.  |  Bild: Conrad Dorer
Image 3:  The recycling of mining residues is one option to counter the pressure on primary raw materials as urbanisation continues © Conrad Dorer
Bild 4: Gruppenbild des RENO-TITAN-Auftakttreffens am Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (INST) in Hanoi.  |  Bild: Conrad Dorer
Image 4: Group picture of the RENO-TITAN kick-off meeting at the Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (INST) in Hanoi © Conrad Dorer

In 2024, project partners from Vietnam will visit their counterparts in Germany  to discuss core aspects of the RENO-TITAN project.  During the kick-off meeting in Hanoi in September 2023, some Vietnamese partners already expressed interest in other rare earth mining investigations in Northern Vietnam. Ideally, mining residues could be used as a substitute building material in urban construction, as Vietnam faces acute sand shortage. The RENO-TITAN project aims to pave the way for this circular approach.

Bild 5: RENO-TITAN-Auftakttreffen am Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (INST) in Hanoi.  |  Bild: Petra Schneider
Image 5: RENO-TITAN kick-off meeting at the INST in Hanoi © Petra Schneider
Bild 6: Abbau schwerer Sande in der südvietnamesischen Provinz Binh Thuan|  Bild: Petra Schneider
Image 6: Mining of heavy sands in the South Vietnamese province Binh Thuan © Petra Schneider
Bild 7: Mit dem Szintillator wird die Strahlendosis pro Zeiteinheit bestimmt, die von außen auf den Menschen wirkt.  |  Bild: Petra Schneider
Image 7: The scintillator is used to determine the radiation dose per unit of time that affects humans from outside © Petra Schneider

Further information on the project can be found on the project page.