InSight Blog

Identifying Rock Types and Mineralization with XRF at the Mount Pleasant Mine

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In a paper published by Wei Zhang, David Lentz, and Brittany Charnley in March 2017, they illustrate the value of using an Olympus portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer (pXRF) to discriminate complex rock types and understand alteration and mineralization in the Mount Pleasant deposit, New Brunswick, Canada.

Mount Pleasant was previously explored for tungsten, but today it’s being mined for tin, zinc, and indium. Indium is a rare metal but is essential for use in flat-screen TVs, smartphones, and computer monitors.

This study highlights the practical application of lithogeochemistry using the immobile element suite of titanium (Ti), zirconium (Zr), niobium (Nb), and yttrium (Y) and principal component analysis to identify rock types, as well as the two key styles of mineralization and alteration in the study area. Samples were collected in the field along with associated GPS coordinates. They were brought back to the lab where the X-5000 analyzer was used to provide material chemistry.

The result of the study is that the geoscientists were able to better understand the geology of the Mount Pleasant deposit. XRF played an important role since the different rock units were complicated and difficult to discriminate visually.

Learn more about our newest instrument for elemental analysis for the mining industry: the Vanta™ portable XRF analyzer.

Principal Geologist, Olympus International Mining Group

Aaron is a diversified Mineral Exploration & Mining Geologist with 20+ years industry experience, spanning analytical products, consulting, mining operations & mineral exploration. Aaron is the Principal Geologist – International Mining Group (IMG) for Olympus Scientific Solutions Americas (OSSA) headquartered in Boston, MA, USA. He is also an embedded researcher & project manager at the Deep Exploration Technologies – Commonwealth Research Cooperative (DET CRC) based in Adelaide, Australia & co-inventor of the recently commercialized Lab-At-Rig® product (now with Imdex-Reflex).

Aaron has been working with Olympus (and formerly Innov-X Systems) since 2008 and has become an Industry Specialist in the application of field portable x-ray fluorescence, x-ray diffraction and microscopy for mineral exploration, mining, mineral processing, environmental and petroleum applications. He is currently focused on the research & development and business development of real-time mineral analysis technologies, including the adaption of systems used by NASA on the Mars Curiosity Rover for terrestrial mineral analysis.

Professionally, Aaron is a qualified Geologist and graduate of the Western Australian School of Mines, Kalgoorlie (WASM) and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mineral Exploration & Mining Geology with 1st Class Honours. Prior to joining Olympus, Aaron spent time with Barrick Gold, Outokumpu, Mincor Resources, Straits Resources and Breakaway Resources working in a variety of management and operational roles, throughout Australia & Canada in various gold, nickel and copper deposits. Aaron is a Member of the AusIMM, AIG, SEG, AAG, GSA & WASMGA.

Aaron is also a qualified snowboard instructor and when not working, you can find him hitting up the slopes in the USA, Canada, NZ & Australia, as well as wake boarding, fishing & kayaking with his family in the summer time.

July 18, 2017
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