In the high-stakes world of Australian mining, accurate and reliable analysis is the bedrock of success.
With evolving technologies, the mining industry has seen a remarkable shift towards non-destructive, portable analysis tools that promise to revolutionise the way you explore, extract and analyse valuable resources.
This article delves into the importance of robust analytical solutions and explores the three most popular and effective technologies: XRF, NIR and FTIR.
What Are The Best Mining Analysis Technologies?
Both greenfield and brownfield mining operations demand precise insights into elemental composition and mineral content.
Robust, portable and non-destructive analysis technologies like XRF, NIR and FTIR empower your team with real-time data that informs critical decisions on-site.
But rather than thinking about them as competing technologies, think of them as complementary.
Each technology is better suited for different applications, so instead of asking which one is better, ask whether XRF, NIR or FTIR are more suited to your needs.
1. X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)
What is XRF?
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive analytical technique to determine the elemental composition of materials, making it ideal for elemental analysis. Handheld XRF or Portable XRF (PXRF) is now widely used across the mining industry for real-time, in-field mining analysis.
How does XRF work?
XRF analysers determine the chemistry of a sample by measuring the fluorescent or secondary X-ray emitted when excited by a primary X-ray source.
Every element present in a sample produces a unique set of characteristic fluorescent X-rays (also called a “fingerprint”), which is why XRF spectroscopy is often used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of material composition.
2. Near-Infrared (NIR)
What is NIR Spectroscopy?
Near-Infrared Spectroscopy is an accurate, reliable, rapid and non-destructive analysis method that requires no sample preparation. NIR is one of the most used procedures as it is both efficient and has a wide range of applications across mining, medicine, agriculture and many other industries.
How does NIR work?
NIR Spectroscopy instruments detect the molecular overtone and combination variations of the specific wavelengths of NIR light absorbed by specific organic molecules.
NIR is best used for mineral analysis in the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum (from about 350 nm to 2500 nm) to identify compounds and materials.
3. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR)
What is FTIR Spectroscopy?
FTIR is named for its use of the Fourier transform mathematical process. It is a versatile extension of existing Infrared techniques that provides fast, accurate results in a unique spectral range. This makes it especially complementary when paired with NIR. FTIR is ideal for mineral analysis in the mid-infrared region (4000-400 cm-1).
How does FTIR work?
FTIR uses the mathematical transform called the Fourier Transform, which decomposes functions depending on space or time into functions depending on spatial or temporal frequency. FTIR technology converts raw data into an infrared spectrum of absorption or emission of a solid, liquid or gas.
The Complete Solution: a Combination of XRF, NIR and FTIR
While each technology shines in its specific domain, the ultimate solution for comprehensive mining analysis is to harness the power of all three.
Together, XRF, NIR and FTIR technologies provide an unrivalled spectral range, covering elemental, mineral, and molecular analyses. This synergy guarantees that your team is equipped with the most versatile toolkit in the industry, adaptable to the evolving demands of mining exploration and processing.
The Leading Analysis Tools for XRF, NIR and FTIR
XRF: The Niton XL5 Plus Handheld XRF Analyser
The XL5 Plus allows the X-ray source and fluorescence detector to be closer to the sample, improving the limits of detection and shortening measurement time, especially for light elements and rare earth elements (REE).
The Niton XL5 Plus is a compact, lightweight handheld XRF analyser built for the most demanding analytical applications that efficiently measures the elemental composition of all metals, scale, sludge, oil, powders and slurries and other geochemical applications.
Learn more: Niton XL5 Plus Handheld XRF Analyser
NIR: The ASD TerraSpec 4 NIR Spectrometer
The TerraSpec 4 is trusted by top geologists for performing fast, precise geological exploration, using full-range near-infrared technology.
With enhanced optics providing even higher-quality spectral results, the improved data quality of the TerraSpec analyser allows for accurate assessment of low-concentration and low-reflectance minerals.
Learn more: ASD TerraSpec 4 NIR Spectrometer
FTIR: The Agilent 4300 Handheld FTIR
The Agilent 4300 Handheld FTIR spectrometer offers an unrivalled combination of convenience, portability, ruggedness and versatility. It is light enough (just 2 kg) for easy transport, yet sturdy enough to handle challenging conditions.
With high-performance optics, hardware design and an excellent user experience, the Agilent 4300 is the perfect tool for on-the-spot non-destructive testing in any environment.
Learn more: Agilent 4300 Handheld FTIR
Purchase Your Complete Mining Solution Today
Ensuring your team has the right mining tools is the most important step toward ensuring effective mining analysis. Without it, significant time, resources, and reputation will be exhausted.
By incorporating the XL5 Plus for elemental analysis, the TerraSpec for mineral analysis in the near-infrared region and the Agilent 4300 for mid-infrared mineral analysis, you gain a comprehensive solution that ensures you’re ready for any challenge in the field.