In today’s mining industry, having access to reliable and precise geochemical information has become crucial to identifying new areas with promising mineralization. Portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers provide an innovative solution for elemental analysis technology that can dramatically change the face of exploration and mining applications. Sample analysis conducted in a timely manner can be fundamental to determine drilling targets and ore boundaries. Mining companies have long-used traditional lab analysis services but these often involve expensive and time-consuming processes. On-site mobile laboratories have proven themselves hard to maintain or provide an analytical range of results that is insufficient. Portable XRF solutions are thus providing a major difference by providing fast and reliable geochemical information via an easy-to-use platform.
Thermo Scientific’s Niton XRF series was designed to serve many of the applications found in the exploration and mining stages. The technology has allowed companies to rapidly acquire geochemical data for the delineation of ore boundaries and in-depth quantitative analysis of metal concentrations that are used for mine mapping purposes. This handheld equipment is particularly useful for the early stages of exploration. In the course of advanced exploration and drilling campaigns, portable analyzers identify increasing or decreasing patterns of elements of interest, helping geologists decide whether to advance an exploration campaign, redirect it, or halt it. Throughout the | TECHNOLOGY SPOTLIGHT production and mineral processing stages, XRF portable tools have also helped mining operators to test samples with little or no preparation. These analyzers provide an optimal way of verifying the purity and the geochemical properties of precious metals while allowing for the accurate chemical testing of tramp and trace elements.
Portable XRF analyzers equipped with the GOLDD™ technology deliver lower detection limits and faster measurement times, better excitation for heavy rare earth element, and an analysis range for 37 elements. In order to measure samples with an unknown chemical concentration of light and heavy elements that may vary from parts per million (ppm) to high percentage levels, Thermo Scientific’s analyzers include Fundamental Parameters calibration so as to simultaneously compensate for the wide range of geometric effects, x-ray absorption, and fluorescent effects. Besides these well-rounded geochemical applications, the analyzers are designed to offer various and unique geochemical mapping solutions that encompass GPS, GIS, and data management options for real-time assessment of geochemical data in the field. Portable XRF analyzers tend to produce large amounts of valuable geochemical information, meaning that this data must be turned into logs or maps for visual checks of any anomalies or trends. As Thermo Scientific understands that time is crucial in the success of mining operations, it has also integrated a function to instantly correlate its findings with GIS maps.