Minerals: Industrial Minerals Commodities

Bauxite Mining and Aluminum Processing

Bauxite (aluminum hydroxides, gibbsite, boehmite and diaspore) is the primary source for aluminum (Al). Explore how Bruker’s analytical instrumentation can improve efficiency by accurately determine concentration of aluminum, grade, and identification of penalty elements.

Bruker's Analytical Technology Helps to Meet Production Targets, Ensures Quality and Saves Costs in the Aluminum Industries

Bauxite ore is the leading source for aluminum. Bauxite is a hydrated aluminum oxide in the form of gibbsite, boehmite or diaspore that forms through surface weathering and direct chemical precipitation. Surface processes introduce a complexity and diversity of ore and impurity compositions that requires careful consideration of analytical technology when designing exploration, grade control, and process control workflows. Bruker’s analytical tools empower all phases of bauxite mining from exploration to remediation. 

XRF for all Phases of the Bauxite to Aluminum Value Chain

X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) XRF provides chemical analysis. Uses of XRF during bauxite mining and exploration include: 

  • Exploration mapping, core scanning, and identification of prospective deposits 

  • Delineation of the extent of resource and cutoff grade during mine assessment   

  • Grade control during mining in both central laboratories and on-site  

  • Process control for alumina processing and electrolysis, including analysis of additives to electrolysis systems such as cryolite, CaF2, AlF3, MgF2 or LiF 

  • For metals characterization and final product QA/QC of cast aluminum and its alloys, refractory materials, raw material for anode production, and the anode coals 

Explore XRF Options

S1 TITAN 800 Portable XRF Portability and power define the S1 TITAN, with a rugged case, Titan Detector Shield™ and GeoExploration calibration. Portable XRF is ideal for on-site analysis, exploration, and core scanning. 
CTX  Countertop XRF  The CTX is a rugged and portable single-sample countertop XRF with battery backup, safety interlocked lid, Titan Detector Shield™ and push-button operation that is ideal for quick-look grade control and process control.  
S2 PUMA Benchtop ED-XRF The S2 PUMA Series 2 is the standard for laboratory ED-XRF analysis, equipped with the intuitive TouchControl™ interface and XY robotic multi-sample or carousel sample changer. 
S6 JAGUAR Benchtop Sequential WD-XRF The S6 JAGUAR provides WD-XRF performance in a compact package ideal for any laboratory analysis.
S8 TIGER Sequential WD-XRF  The S8 TIGER Series 2 sequential WDXRF provides outstanding superior analytical performance for the most demanding mineral and mining applications.

Bulk Mineral Analysis

XRD directly measures the mineralogy. Knowing about mineral impurities such as clay or iron oxide in bauxite is the key to beneficiation in the alumina refinery and thus reduces residues. In the smelter XRD measures the mineralogy of the congealed electrolyte. Control parameters are derived that are essential for managing the operation of the smelter cells. Furthermore, the anode quality is monitored by XRD.

Microanalysis and Automated Mineralogy

Automated mineralogy combines the imaging power of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS) to generate mineral maps and quantified elemental data. Automated mineralogy and associated detectors enable the characterization of target minerals such as gibbsite, kaolinite, and iron oxi-hydroxides. Example applications include:  

  • Exploration assessments providing identification of ore mineralogy and morphology as well as textural associations between ore minerals and gangue minerals 

  • Risk assessment for processing planning including minerals associated with reactive silica and identification of problematic minerals  

  • Optimization of comminution during the beneficiation process by quantifying mineral liberation in feeds and tails 

Positive Materials Identification

Positive Material Identification (PMI) is a Non-destructive Testing (NDT) method critical in the mining industry. PMI is used to verify that supplied materials conform to the proper standards and specifications. The verification of alloy grade become a mission-critical safety consideration for mining, mineral processing, and smelting facilities that utilize high-temperature and high-pressure processes. Bruker’s NDT solutions include Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) for positive identification of nearly any alloy.

Environmental and Remediation 

Bauxite mining exposes large areas to weathering and runoff, requiring special considerations for environmental management. Monitoring is important for the transport of heavy elements in surface water, the analysis of processing fluid discharge, and the assessment of contamination for closure and remediation. Bruker partners with operators to develop monitoring and remediation workflows that are efficient and accurate. Example applications include:  

  • Utilizing Total Reflection XRF (TXRF) for hassle-free testing of heavy elements in water  

  • Mapping contamination hot-spots with portable XRF  

  • Monitoring acid generation possibilities with automated mineralogy 

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