Our modern society strongly relies on iron, steel, and various ferrous alloys. While recycling rates are increasing, the global demand for iron ore remains very high and is still growing. Iron ore mining is a competitive, high-volume business with many players in the game. The sales prices are significantly affected by the ore grades because steel- and metal-makers prefer high quality grades more than ever. Depending on the original type and purity of the mineral ore, different mineral beneficiation methods are used, including floatation-, magnetic- and gravity separation. These treatments differ in effectivity and costs. Careful selection of the appropriate methods and frequent monitoring of the original ore, intermediate and final grades is invaluable in enabling a cost-effective, and ultimately profitable, mining operation.
X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is the most accepted technology for this task. Modern systems like the S6 JAGUAR, a powerful benchtop wavelength dispersive XRF (WDXRF) spectrometer, enable accurate and precise analysis within minutes. Here, one of the key points to consider is the selection of the optimal sample preparation. While pressed powder preparation is fast and easy, the highest precision and accuracy is achieved with fused beads preparation. Fused bead preparation also allows for the analysis of different ores and ore grades from different locations as there is no mineralogical matrix effect anymore. This makes this preparation method often ideal for central and contract labs, for import/export grade control, and for incoming goods quality check at steel plants.
For more information, please read our Lab Report (XRF 167) and visit our website at bruker.com/xrf. Here you can also learn more about our dedicated out-of-the-box solutions for the mining industry: GEO-QUANT packages.