SummaryInstant results, non-destructive method, large numbers of analyses can be obtained quickly and inexpensively, data can be stored easily, makes time-consuming lab analyses in many cases obsolete.
Portable XRF analysers allow in-situ chemical analyses of soils, rocks, and ores in outcrop, drill core or mine walls (open pit and underground). Measuring time is 20-30 seconds and results can be used instantly and stored. Macroscopically invisible mineralisation or obscured mineralisation (e.g. Zn-silicates or disseminated chalcocite in carbon-rich, dark grey metasediments) can be identified easily. Expensive and time-consuming (delayed results) laboratory analyses can be used more sparingly or even avoided. No sample preparation is necessary. Originally invented to detect toxic lead in wall paint, subsequently used for metal composition estimation in scrap metal. It is now used widely in the EU and world wide. Not recognised in policy making.
Impact on the mining value chain
streamlined permitting procedures
safe and fast remote exploration
reduced environmental impact
reduced grade deposit mining
safer and more efficient greater depth extraction
Mine closure / Waste
mining waste reuse/recycling/valorisation
mine site reclamation/rehabilitation for subsequent uses
TransferabilityA technique, originally invented for toxicity control has taken over from laborious, expensive, and time-consuming laboratory analyses in exploration, extraction and mineral processing
+: Cheaper compared to laboratory analysis
+: Provides faster analysis results