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Portable XRD for Graphite Exploration, Mining, and Extraction


Portable XRD for Graphite

Exploration, Mining, and Extraction

Olympus portable X-ray diffractometers (pXRD) provide geologists and metallurgists with quantitative mineralogy in near real time, across all mineral species. This enables the exploration geologist to make more informed infield decisions. It also provides the metallurgist with the information needed to develop more effective blending strategies and yield better graphite recoveries.

Benefits of Olympus pXRD

The benefits of Olympus’ innovative pXRD analyzers include:

  • Small sample: requires only 15 mg of material
  • Easy sample preparation: does not require a skilled technician
  • Fast acquisition time: obtain results in a few minutes
  • Stand-alone instrument: no need for water cooling or a large, external power source
  • No ongoing servicing requirements: XRD can be performed regularly without downtime
  • Portability: battery-operated, rugged design with no moving parts

Mineral Quantification in the Field

Olympus pXRD analyzers can identify and quantify all mineral phases, irrespective of chemistry and reflectance. The portable TERRA® XRD instrument enables geologists and metallurgists to do the following on-site:

  • Quantify graphitic carbon and carbon hosted by carbonates (Figure 1)
  • Quantify problematic gangue minerals (for example, chlorite, talc, and clays) that can float during flotation, contaminating and lowering the concentrate quality

This information can be used by the geologist to help identify areas that warrant further exploration. A knowledge of quantitative mineralogy in near real time can also be used by the metallurgist to develop appropriate blending strategies, thereby optimizing the process.

Figure 1. Comparison between graphitic carbon and carbon as carbonate as measured by a laboratory compared to estimates from quantitative XRD.
Figure 1. Comparison between graphitic carbon and carbon as carbonate as measured by a laboratory compared to estimates from quantitative XRD.

Olympus pXRD—Data Quality and Runtime Performance

While Olympus pXRD analyzers provide the convenience of quantitative mineralogy on-site, without the need for complicated sample preparation procedures, the user can also be confident in the quality of the results they obtain. To illustrate the quantitative capabilities of the Olympus pXRD products, comparisons have been made with a large, 2 kW, conventional lab-based XRD instrument (Figure 2) at varying run times.

To further illustrate the quantitative capabilities of the Olympus pXRD instruments, comparisons have been made between laboratory assay data and chemistry that has been back-calculated from the results of quantitative mineralogy. The correlation between these results clearly illustrates the excellent quantitative capabilities of our pXRD analyzers (Figure 1).

pXRD 40 mins

pXRD 20 mins

pXRD 10 mins

pXRD 5 mins

Figure 2. The graphs show excellent correlation between results of quantitative mineralogical analysis obtained from a lab-based, 2 kW XRD instrument and the Olympus TERRA® portable XRD at varying runtimes.

Olympus IMS
Products used for this application

The TERRA Mobile XRD System, a high performing, completely contained, battery operated, closed-beam portable XRD, provides full phase ID of major, minor and trace components with a quick XRF scan of elements Ca – U. Its unique, minimal sample prep technique and sample chamber allow for fast, in-field analysis.
The BTX Benchtop XRD System is a fast, low cost, small footprint, benchtop XRD for full phase ID of major, minor and trace components and quick XRF scan of elements Ca – U. Its unique, minimal sample prep technique and sample chamber allow for fast, benchtop analysis rivaling the performance of large costly lab units.
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