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NIR for the Mining Industry

27 March 2018 No Comment

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Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a fast, non-destructive technique that measures light reflectance to determine various materials or identify compounds. NIR is widely applied and is used to measure food quality, validate pharmaceutical constituents, research climate change effects, identify counterfeit products, monitor agricultural crops, identify and even quantify mined minerals, just to give a few examples.

In mining, Malvern Panalytical’s ASD TerraSpec® line of spectrometers are used by leading mining corporations in mines around the world to help them vector in on their deposits faster as well as characterize the geology and mineralogy at the mine site. NIR identifies many difficult alteration minerals such as various clay species, which are critical to proper characterization of the altered geology that surrounds an ore deposit.

While a valuable tool for miners, collecting NIR mineral spectra has historically been a cumbersome process. Exploration geologists would carry a briefcase-sized spectrometer in a backpack and collect mineral spectra by applying a probe to the rock’s surface. The probe connects to the spectrometer by an optical fiber and a wire, which collect and store the spectral files on a computer. The mineral is identified by feeding the files into a program that analyzes the spectra and compares it against a known mineral spectra library.

TerraSpec-Halo-Mineral-Identifier-Sampling

The TerraSpec Halo is a novel dedicated analysis tool for real-time mineral identification.

The ASD TerraSpec Halo does everything above in one hand-held, phaser-style system weighing just over 2.5 kilograms. A geologist simply needs to contact the instrument against a rock, pull the trigger, and in 20 seconds or less, the geologist will receive a mineral result on the Halo screen. In an industry where costs continue to increase, the TerraSpec Halo can provide immediate results to miners, allowing for faster decision making and thus reducing operations and labor costs.

Working together we can help you overcome some of mining’s biggest modern-day challenges – lower commodity prices, lower ore grades and higher energy. It pays to dig deeper to find innovative ways to optimize the mining process.
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