Mines, Money, Exploration and Ore Grade Control

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Last month’s Mines and Money London show was as energetic as ever. Over 2,000 attendees from over 150 mining companies ranging from exploration juniors to established producers and majors, as well as over 600 investors and 250 speakers discussed the critical issues shaping the mining industry. There were keynote sessions from expert investors, world renowned analysts, Spotlight speakers from leading mining companies and influential policy makers reviewing and demonstrating the latest trends and technology to help improve mining operations.

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Chris Calam took part in the Technology Spotlight series and presented “How To Leverage Your Portable XRF For Exploration And Grade Control” to an enthusiastic audience. He had quite the crowd at the presentation and he was thrilled at the questions attendees brought up during the talk about portable XRF mining exploration technology.

XRF (X-ray fluorescence) is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials. XRF analysers determine the chemistry of a sample by measuring the fluorescent (or secondary) X-ray emitted from a sample when it is excited by a primary X-ray source. Each of the elements present in a sample produces a set of characteristic fluorescent X-rays (“a fingerprint”) that is unique for that specific element, which is why XRF spectroscopy is an excellent technology for qualitative and quantitative analysis of material composition, including rocks, cuttings, and cores.

If you couldn’t be at the show or the presentation, Chris has made the slides available at the end of this article, but if you want to get some quick tips, here are some of the bullet points from the presentation:

What does Portable XRF have to offer in Exploration?

  • Soil survey and outcrop evaluation to map anomalies
  • Target additional sampling in anomalous areas to identify drill targets
  • Provide a geochemical data stream to the geologist
    • Improves confidence in daily decision making
  • Speed up exploration efficiency, saving time and money
    • Compliments lab analysis
      – Pre-screen sample selection for lab analysis
      – Maximising analytical budgets
      – Reduce external assay & freight costs
      – Eliminate delays associated with analytical turnaround time

What does Portable XRF have to offer in Grade Control?

  • Improved mine efficiency through optimised extraction and processing
    • Better ore boundary definition
      – Instantly flag grade, sub-grade and waste
      – Prevent grade dilution
      – Improved stockpile management
    • Analyse blast hole cuttings
      – Follow the mineralised veins
    • Drive efficient excavation decisions
    • Matrix specific calibrations
    • Confirm presence of penalty and credit elements
    • Optimise feed to the mill
  • Environmental Management
    • Waste effluent monitoring
    • Mine decommissioning
      – Tailings, mineral waste
      – Soil remediation

Keep in mind that portable XRF analysis will not replace laboratory results; it merely takes the pressure off an over-worked on-site lab and enables geology staff to interact with other departments armed with up-to-date information.

If you have questions about portable XRF analysis in mining operations, please contact us.

Download the slides: “How To Leverage Your Portable XRF For Exploration And Grade Control”

Source: Thermo Fisher Scientific – Advanced Mining

Blog, Exploration, Mining, XRF