The recovery of minerals from ores is an important industry and much depends on the correct assessment of the valuable minerals in the ore and on the efficiency of the processing. Traditional assaying methods don’t give the metallurgist all the information he really needs.
A new technique called QEM*SEM (Quantitative Evaluation of Minerals by Scanning Electron Microscopy) has been developed by researchers at CSIRO’s Division of Mineral Chemistry. QEM*SEM is the first fully-automated mineral characterization system capable of giving accurate, highly detailed information. It produces multi-coloured “mineral maps” from either sections of drill core or from crushed particles. These maps can be interpreted to tell how much of each mineral is present, the grain sizes, and how the minerals in the samples are associated with each other.
Although developed for the mining industry, QEM*SEM can be used to characterize any kind of metallic or inorganic particles, yielding precise, detailed information in a readily accessible form.