When exploring for precious metals, one of the most widely used techniques is to identify and monitor geochemical pathfinder elements which conveniently, are typically more easily detected by the XRF analyzer. Depending on location and specific types of ore deposits, certain elements are present and/ or consistently ratio targeted elements of interest such as gold (Au) or silver (Ag). Arsenic (As) is a very common element to use as a pathfinder element for Au. By identifying anomalous As, there is a distinct possibility of tracking Au deposits. Depending on the specific geochemistry of the area being explored, many other elements can also be used as pathfinders for Au such as Ag, copper (Cu), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), antimony (Sb), tellurium (Te), selenium (Se) and mercury (Hg).
The development of the Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) in handheld XRF has markedly improved the limits of detection (LODs) for precious metals. However, the more elements available to track and confirm their existence and how well they correlate to the element of interest, the quicker and more accurately you may identify the actual location of the ore deposit. It is important to be able to distinguish the effectiveness of a pathfinder before relying on it. This can easily be confirmed by sending some of the samples you analyzed with the XRF to the lab to see how closely they correlate. Tracking every element contained in the samples is not necessary however examining how specific elements correlate to targeted elements is most important. Contact our experts in mining to discuss how the S1 TITAN can satisfy your exploration needs!