ICP Analysis In Geochemical Prospecting-1

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
In the late 1970's Western Mining Corporation, Exploration Division considered the purchase of a major multi-element spectrometer as an adjunct to our existing atomic absorption spectrophotometers. The analytical work proposed for the unit included barium, uranium and rare earth elements from Olympic Dam, uranium, sulphur, vanadium and strontium on Yeelirrie type deposits, major element and whole rock analysis, multi-element analysis of samples from the laterite, chromium and manganese exploration programmes and tin and arsenic analysis. These were all analyses that were not readily or easily performed by flame atomic absorption or were where we expected that a simultaneous multi-element instrument would be an advantage. Also the turnaround times for the commercial laboratories was considered unacceptably long for some determinations. Other factors, important when considering the spectrometer were the ability to ensure confidentiality of results and the ability to assign our own priorities and not to have to rely on commercial laboratories. The two techniques considered were X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry and Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry. The decision was made in favour of the ICP unit for several reasons. The ICP fitted in with our existing methodology, ie samples digested for atomic absorption or colorimetric techniques would also be suitable for ICP analysis and vice versa. The technique was suitable for water samples and for major element analyses and for rare earth elements. X-ray fluorescence spectrometers were installed at the Kambalda and Belmont laboratories and would be available to us for routine checking and for elements not suitable for ICP analysis. The final consideration was price. ICP was considerably cheaper than XRF.
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