In the field or at the core shed, geologists are often constrained to what minerals they can see with their hand lens. Due to the fine-grained nature of alteration that often accompanies gold mineralization, visual assessments made by the geologist are often subjective and, frequently, wrong. Samples are often sent off site to a laboratory for petrographic analysis. This procedure is time-intensive and expensive and sometimes fails to distinguish between minerals that have vastly different origins (e.g. formed by ground water or mineralizing fluids). Further, differentiating similar minerals, such as clays, carbonates, and fine-grained sulfides, is extremely difficult under the microscope.
Olympus pXRD provides geologists with reliable, qualitative, and quantitative mineralogical data in near real time in the field, at the drill-rig, or in the core-shed. The information that pXRD provides is objective, rather than subjective, and would take weeks or months to obtain using traditional methods.
Using an Olympus pXRD instrument, geologists can quickly make important decisions, such as:
Aside from alteration vectoring, quantitative mineralogy provides important geo-metallurgical and mineral processing information for future mine design.
Olympus pXRD instruments use patented technology developed for the Mars Science Laboratories (MSL) mission. They are fitted with a charge-coupled device (CCD) to simultaneously collect X-ray diffraction and qualitative X-ray fluorescence data.
The benefits of Olympus’ innovative pXRD analyzers include:
Olympus pXRD analyzers provide the convenience of onsite quantitative mineralogy, without the need for complicated sample preparation procedures. To illustrate the quantitative capabilities of Olympus pXRD products, comparisons have been made with a large, 4 kW, conventional lab-based XRD instrument (Figure 2). The results show strong agreement between the lab-based XRD unit and the Olympus pXRD system.
|Mineral||Lab-based XRD||pXRD - 40 mins||pXRD - 20 mins||pXRD - 10 mins||pXRD - 5 mins|
Data collection time was also studied to assess the performance of the Olympus pXRD analyzers at varying testing times as well as comparison with lab-based XRD. Diffractograms of one sample using different testing times are shown in Figure 3. Figure 4 and Table 1 summarize the quantitative results at different data collection times and clearly shows consistent results between the two instruments (even at a runtime of 5 minutes).