Copper ore

Quantitative X-ray mineralogy supports the mine operation and the hydrometallurgical processing of the ore, saves energy and process reagents, and increases recovery

Porphyry copper ore is challenging X-ray mineralogy. The mineralogy of the ore, concentrates and residues are complex. Twenty or more minerals are to be quantified in most of the samples. Peak overlap is massive and may mask minor phases. Clays and other layered material make a reproducible sample preparation difficult.

These days, analytical service laboratories and the world´s biggest copper mines rely on Bruker X-ray technology, software and application expertise. They x-ray thousands of blast-hole and process samples.

Mineralogy rocks

Properties relevant to extracting Copper from the rock solely depend on the type of minerals present in the specimen and not the chemistry. Nowadays, XRD together with NIR and scanning electron microscopy allow quantitative mineralogy analysis as quick as chemical analysis. New insights from mineralogy support block-modeling of the ore-body, mine planning and operation, metallurgical testing and processing.

What makes trouble

The ore characterization lab may anticipate ore response to processing conditions. However, detrimental minerals have huge financial impacts. Swelling clay and kaolinite may prevent the flow of liquids within the leach pad. Calcite consumes acid. Agglomerations of material may be related to the presence of clays and mica. Other minerals disrupt flotation.

XRD helps addressing all those issues. It identifies the minerals known to be troublesome and monitors their concentrations.

Fully automatic sample preparation and XRD using the D8 ENDEAVOR process diffractometer together with TOPAS quantitative analysis mastered the challenge.