As I mentioned in my last article, Zinc (Zn), atomic number 30 on the Periodic Table, is a very versatile element and is sought after by the mining industry. In this article, I’ll discuss how portable XRF technology was tested against lab results to see if portable XRF analyzers are a suitable analysis technology for zinc and its associated minerals. Sphalerite (ZnS) is the primary source of Zn ore with 95% of the world’s supply coming from this single mineral.
Other elements associated with Zn ore, such as lead (Pb) and silver (Ag), offer another opportunity to capitalize on refinery by-products. Accordingly, grading concentration of all three metals is of paramount interest in the mine and processing plant. Conducting all the analysis in a way that maximizes productivity is extremely important. We tested portable XRF technology against lab results to establish if portable x-ray fluorescent analyzers were suitable for zinc and its associated minerals.
Twenty-four certified reference materials (CRM) and in-house standards were packed into standard XRF sample cups fitted with Mylar film and measured for 90 seconds. Analysis time may vary depending on precision requirements. Then the correlation curves for Zn, Pb, and Ag, with certified results were compared to portable XRF results. The correlation coefficients and repeatability data for the key elements in Zn ore analysis demonstrated excellent accuracy and precision of portable XRF.
Portable XRF analyzers are ideal for exploration, grading of Zn ore in the mine, or determining the amounts of Zn, Pb, and Ag present in the concentrates. Accurate analysis of all three is critical to maximize efficiency across all parts of the mining process. Elemental concentration information is achieved with a minimum of sample preparation, enabling quick decisions in the mine. With a portable XRF analyzer, concentrations of all elements of interest are at your fingertips, minimizing downtime of any kind. For more details, including correlation curves and repeatability data, read these application notes: