Nickel assay by X-ray spectrography

Monday, 06 April, 2009 | Supplied by: XRF Scientific

A Thulium-based, higher precision X-ray analysis technique is suitable for assaying nickel in ore. Currently, production criteria is controlled using quantitative X-ray analysis with a chemical assay reference method (Wet Chemical DMG), which tests the ultimate purity of the nickel ore or concentrate. The current X-ray technique, however, has proven to have accuracy limitations resulting in the loss of potential revenue that can be realised from production. Moreover, the chemical DMG method is relatively expensive, complex and time consuming with the chemicals being dangerous to operators.

X-ray Flux’s quality certified, Thulium International Standard Technique involves the assay of nickel by X-ray spectrography to deliver a higher degree of analytical accuracy than hitherto available by X-ray or chemical methods. This directly translates to higher financial benefits for operators of nickel mines as around US$19 million in extra revenue can be generated for each 40,000 t from improved nickel metal inventories, lower product quality penalties and faster payments. This could be extrapolated to more than $600 million of incremental revenue that potentially could be realised by operators based on current production nickel prices and volumes.

The XRF Thulium method takes only 20-40 s, there are no chemical safety issues, is higher in accuracy and costs around 90% less.

X-ray Flux is currently developing similar high-precision techniques for the analysis of copper and iron ores that have the potential to deliver comparable financial benefits to mining companies. XRF Scientific expects the Thulium method, with its higher accuracy, significantly lower assay cost and increased revenue potential to end users, will be adopted as the standard for nickel analysis.

Phone: 08 9244 9600
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