Preliminary study on upgrading silica sand from the Elwadi Elgedid, Western Desert, Egypt for compatibility with various industrial applications

Document Type : Research Paper


Nuclear Materials Authority, Cairo, Egypt


The silica sand from the vast Elwadi Elgedid desert is an important potential resource. However, before it can be used industrially, its quality needs to be improved by reducing the ratios of iron and titanium oxides. The current study investigated several different methods of this silica’s beneficiation process with regard to the cost of beginning a possible metal-silicon industry. Foremost, looked at autogenesis disintegration, dry screening, and dry-high intensity magnetic separation using Eriez rare earth rolls belt speed 114 rpm, splitting angle 95o. Then moved on to acid leaching via oxalic and sulfuric acids.  The analysis of silica sand concentrate reveals 98.80% SiO2 with 0.40% Al2O3, 0.06% Fe2O3, 0.03% TiO2, and 0.38 LOI. This processed silicon sand is currently unsuitable for the metallurgical silicon, solar silicon, and even semi-conductor industries. However, it is suitable for grade F uses, including colored glass containers according to British standards (B.S.) and sheet and plate glass according to the American Ceramic Society and National Bureau of Standard. It is considered medium-grade according to Indian standards specifications (I.S.), making it suitable for pale-coloured glass wares. Moreover, it is suitable for foundry paints, plastics, polymer compounds, rubber, sealants, resins, adhesives, and ceramics industries.

Graphical Abstract

Preliminary study on upgrading silica sand from the Elwadi Elgedid, Western Desert, Egypt for compatibility with various industrial applications


  • Silica sand is an economical raw highly silica.
  • Purification from contaminations (refractory minerals).
  • Physical and chemical techniques are using in regard with low coastline.
  • Using rare earth roll, magnetic separator to decrease the iron and titanium oxides.
  • Applications that concentrate silica sand can be used.


Main Subjects

[1] International Silica Industries, retrieved April 16, 2022 from
[2] Uses of Silicon (Si) - Chemical Properties of Silicon & Polymers of Silicon, Founded Nov, 30, 2011, Headquarters: Bengaluru, India, retrieved April 16, 2022 from
[3] R.A. Osman, Assessment of chemical and mineralogical features on silica sand and its potential industrial applications at Elwadi Elgedid, Western Desert, Egypt, Int. J. Innov. Sci. Eng. Tech. 8 (2021) 99-115. 
[4] R.A. Osman, Investigation of microtextures on the surface of mesozoic quartz grains to study the prevailing paleoenvironmenal conditions on silica sand, Elwadi Elgedid, Western Desert, Egypt, Curr. Sci. Int.  10 (2021) 89-96.
[5] A. Hussein, Mineral deposits, In: R. Said, Ed., The Geology of Egypt, Taylor and Francis Publishers, London, 1990, pp. 511-566.
[6] M. AW. Gaber, Evaluation of some natural ores from Egyptian eastern desert to be utilized in producing of paint materials, J. Petrol. Gas Expl. Res. 2 (2012) 17-26.
[7] A.I. Gamal, S.M. Ahmed, Y.M. Tarek, A. El-Hariri, M.H. Ibrahim, New industrial use of White Sands from Wadi EL Dakhl area, Eastern Desert, Egypt, nt. J. Innov. Sci. Eng. Tech. 3 (2016) 516-524.
[8] M. Ezz-El Din, A.M. Abouzeid, Kh. El Maadawy, A.M. Khalid, R.E. El Sherif, Mineral industry in Egypt– Part II. Non-metallic commodities – Silica ores, J. Min. World Exp. (MWE) 5 (2016) 9-27.
[9] G.E.A. Ibrahim, A.S. Mousa, T.Y.M.A. El-hariri, I.M. Hassnien, N.I. Zakzouk, New industrial use of Egyptian White Sands from Wadi ElDakhl Area, Eastern Desert, Egypt, Int. J. Innov. Sci. Eng. Tech. 3 (2016) 516-525.
[10] A.N. Banza, J. Quindt, E. Gock, Improvement of the quartz sand processing at Hohenbocka, Int. J. Miner. Procces. 79 (2006) 76-82.
[11] E. Jamieson, A. Jones, D. Cooling, N. Stockton, Magnetic separation of red sand to produce value, Miner. Eng. 19 (2006) 1603-1605.
[12] N.R. Shaffer, The time of sands: Quartz-rich sand deposits as a renewable resource, Electronic Green Journal (2006) 24. Retrieved from
[13] D. Mowla, G. Karimi, K. Ostadnezhad, Removal of hematite from silica sand ore by reverse flotation technique, Sep. Purif. Technol. 58 (2008) 419-423.
[14] M. Sundararajan, S. Ramaswamy, P. Raghavan, Evaluation for the beneficiability of white silica sands from the overburden of lignite mine situated in Rajpardi district of Gujarat, India, J. Miner. Mater. Charact. Eng. 8 (2009) 701-714. 
[15] Z. Zhang, J. Li, X. Li, H. Huang, L. Zhou, T. Xiong, High efficiency iron removal from quartz sand using phosphoric acid, Int. J. Miner. Process. 114 (2012) 30-34.
[16] S.S. Ibrahim, A.Q. Selim, A.A. Hagrass, Gravity separation of silica sands for value addition, Particul. Sci. Technol. 31 (2013) 590-595.
[17] S.S. Ibrahim, M.M. Farahat, T.R. Boulos,  Optimizing the performance of the RER magnetic separator for upgrading silica sands, Particul. Sci. Technol. 35 (2017) 21-28.                         
[18] A. Tuncuk, A. Akcil, Removal of iron from quartz ore using different acids: A laboratory-scale reactor study, Min. Proc. Ext. Met. Rev. 35 (2014) 217-228.
[19] H.H.M. Ali, M.H. El-Sadek, M.B. Morsi, K.A. El-Barawy, R.M. Abou-Shahba, Production of metallurgical-grade silicon from Egyptian quartz, J. S. Afr. I. Min. Metall. 118 (2018) 143-148.
[20] T.R. Boulos, A. Yehia, M.B. Morsi, S.S. Ibrahim, High quality fused silica from Egyptian silica sand concentrate, Int. J. Sci. Eng. Invest. 6 (2017) 160-166.
[21] O.W. Flörke, H.A. Graetsch, Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, Chapter 2. Silica, Wiely-VCH GmbH & Co., Weinheim, 2007.
[22] A.M.Kh. Mustafa, I.Kh. Fleah, T.V. Khachiek, Preliminary upgrading of silica sand for silicon and silicones industries from Ardhuma, Iraqi Western Desert, Iraqi Bulletin of Geology and Mining, 9 (2013) 75-84.
[23] A. Thompson, J.S. Poole, Cuesta Consulting Limited, Silica Sand Study (Final Report): updated and revised  edition  of  the  report  originally published as "The Soft Sand & Silica Sand Study, 2015", Nov. 2016, pp. 1-75.
[24] B.S. Xakalashe, M. Tangstad, Silicon processing: from quartz to crystalline silicon solar cells, S. Afr. Pyrometall. (2011) 83-100.
[25] I. Brooks, Geomorphology and quaternary geology of the Dakhla oasis, Quaternary Sci. Rev. 12 (1993) 529-552. 
[26] Magnetic Separators-IMSC group, retrieved April 16, 2022 from
[27] H.B. Goldman, Glass raw materials, In D.D. Carr (Eds.), Industrial minerals and rocks, Littleton: Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, 1994, pp. 869-877.
[28] M.A. El Sayed, W.M. Fathy, A.M. Salleh, S.S. Ibrahim, M.R. Moharam, Processing of Wadi Qena Kaolinitic White Sands by selective dispersion and leaching for industrial uses, Journal of Al-Azhar University Engineering Sector, Article 21, 13 (2018) 530-545.
Volume 7, Issue 2
October 2021
Pages 107-117
  • Receive Date: 20 February 2022
  • Revise Date: 22 April 2022
  • Accept Date: 02 June 2022
  • First Publish Date: 02 June 2022