Infrared spectroscopy offers rapid identification and characterisation of minerals.
Common minerals and mineral groups identifiable with infrared spectroscopy include hematite, goethite, kaolin, gibbsite garnet, pyroxene, amphibole, epidote, apatite, tourmaline, topaz, clay, mica, chlorite, serpentine, carbonates, hydrous silicates and rare earth minerals. The scan information can be used to identify and characterise mineralogy to map alteration zones associated with various ore forming processes.
For best results, it is recommended that the characterisation of the mineral analysis be confirmed by an alternative technique on either a continuum or a selected subset of samples.
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Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR)
The FTIR instrumentation obtains an absorption or emission spectrum in the thermal infrared region for a solid, liquid or gas. Minerals, for example, have unique molecular structures that vibrate upon excitation by an energy source. The resultant spectrum will be characteristic of a mineral based on its molecular bonding.
PSS has developed a set of FTIR mineral applications using standard analytical pulp to determine the weight percent of selected minerals using Attenuated Total Reflection (ATR-FTIR).
FTIR is ideal for screening large volumes of sample pulps.
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Raman spectroscopy is a laser based vibrational technique that generates a unique spectrum that is matched to a known mineral using an extensive mineral library developed in-house. The technique is non-destructive and provides a rapid method to identify minerals in drill core, rock chips or hand specimens. In addition, mineral assemblages and spectral features related to the project geology can be extracted using spectral software to enhance spectral interpretation.
The application of Raman spectroscopy in the exploration and mining industry is emerging in conjunction with established applications for grade control and ore sorting.
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