Identifying Gold with handheld LIBS
The identification of gold within the field has, up until now, been problematic when analysing geological samples. However, thanks to technological advances, it’s now possible to carry out Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (AES) in the form of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) with a handheld unit – namely the SciAps Z-300.
As ground-breaking as this might seem, the benefits don’t end there. The following discusses the many advantages that the unit brings to the capabilities of conventional field geochemical investigations.
Positive Identification is only the First Step
When it comes to gold mining and exploration, the first step is – of course – to know if gold exists in the landscape. While handheld and portable x-ray florescence (pXRF) analysers have been in use for decades, their shortcomings are well documented.
Gold within a geological sample is often highly inhomogeneous. The use of pXRF analysis is limited and unable to provide the required in-depth capabilities of geochemical analysis that LIBS can bring.
The difference with LIBS is the additional and unique capabilities it brings. The Z-300 is designed to be used with the GeoChem Pro App. This allows for a virtually instant analysis of the distribution of elements, generating a map within a minute that can be exported for further investigation.
In reality, what this means is that not only can positive identification of gold be achieved in the field, but also information about where it’s located, the presence of other minerals that are associated with its distribution, as well as its associated geochemical signal.
For the gold hunter, that’s quite some knowledge that can be delivered through a hand-held tool…
The Z-300 can be used to analyse a variety of specimens, including:
- Drill core
- Rock chips
- Hand specimens
This powerful tool uses a 50um laser and in-built X-Y stage for rastering. Not only can it show the distribution of different elements, but can also pinpoint individual areas within a single sample to allow for context understanding. This is further enhanced using the unique SciAps Profile Builder PC software to quantify and create matrix-specific calibrations.
This exciting technology is just the start. For the detection of gold’s pathfinder elements, to understand its distribution and every aspect of minerology, identification just got a whole lot easier with the handheld LIBS technology that’s provided with the SciAps Z-300.
Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, with today’s tools having been the stuff of sci-fi only a few short years ago. The mining industry is also evolving, and those who fail to take advantage of the latest proven tech run a real risk of falling behind their competitors.
Perth-based Nexxis is an equipment provider that’s at the forefront of technology. From mining to oil & gas, subsea to nuclear, their unique solutions-based approach allows flexibility to equipment procurement in a unique procurement blueprint.