Assays from routine process control samples to commercial analyses

Analyses of commodity elements of samples from various stages of the mineral processing are extremely important not only for defining the value of the concentrate but also for optimization of the recovery of the plant.

For the analysis of these elements the main qualification is fast turn-around. Services must be arranged on-site or in close proximity of the mine. Labtium’s network of laboratories is a cost-efficient solution for this.

Additionally the concentration of main components and deleterious, penalty elements are also important. This makes the choice of analytical methods complicated and requires continuous co-operation between metallurgists and laboratory specialists.

The selection of the analytical procedures depends on the use of results i.e.process control, shipment assays, commercial and umpire analyses. The turnaround time and quality requirements may differ depending on the use of the results and hence affect the selection of the assaying methods.

The analytical methods used in Labtium for given commodity elements range from traditional gravimetric and titrimetric methods to fast modern instrumental analytical methods. The analysis of precious metals i.e. Au, Ag. Pd, Pt is mostly based on the Fire Assay procedure with a different finish.

Larger analytical packages are available for analysis of the commodity elements together with major and trace components of process samples. They involve digestions with aqua regia or more aggressive sodium peroxide fusion followed by determination by instrumental methods. Also analysis by XRF can be used for process control.

The trace components and impurities are generally analyzed by ICP-optical emission (ICP-OES) or ICP-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) or atomic absorption (AAS) procedures.  Additional components are analysed by individual determinations such as combustion (elemental analysers) and potentiometry.

Additionally Labtium has methods for chemical phase analysis for determination of e.g. Ni and Cu oxide and sulphide phases or gold in refractory form.

Reliable calibration of online analysers used in the mill and environmental monitoring requires the use of chemical methods. Labtium’s comprehensive set of methods is the perfect choice for these services.

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Pekka Parvinen
Expert
Tel. 050 547 0477
pekka.parvinen@labtium.fi
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