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SPECIAL FOCUS: MAPPING MINERAL DEPOSITS


tools facilitates remote access to a digital version of the drill sample. Remote access to data has become critical to keep project and operations moving forward when travel has become impossible and/or risky due to the pandemic.


Te bulk density can be derived based on measured volume from LiDAR scan of the Minalyzer CS, combined with the weight of the core tray. Te method is suitable for friable sediment core where a true representation of the friable or heavily fractured sample through manual measurements and estimates can be error prone. Te new method has been tested and applied in live applications by iron ore companies in Western Australia where extensive comparisons between the new method and the traditional have been made. Te method has also been tested on known volumes and densities for verification and demonstrate both a high level of repeatability and accuracy. Other benefits with the method are that it can be automated to a high degree and provides a non-subjective measurement. Due to its implementation the bulk density value derived would represent a conservative measurement of the bulk density.


CASE STUDY A real-world case study demonstrates the results that this approach is enabling companies to achieve. Te Rönnbäcken nickel project is located in northern Sweden, and was until recently explored by Nickel Mountain Group. Drill cores from Rönnbäcken were analysed with Minalyzer CS. “Minalyze’s technology represents a significant advance in quick geochemistry


A Minalyzer CS unit in situ


to support the exploration geologist in her or his endeavours to find deposits viable for mining,” says Johan Sjöberg, Chief Geologist at Nickel Mountain Group. “Te technology enables you to effortlessly have geochemical data at your fingertips when logging drill core, without the hassle of re-logging the core after sampling and assay at a conventional lab.” Te Rönnbäcken project is an ophiolite-hosted metamorphogenic nickel sulphide deposit, which consists of serpentinised ultramafic lenses that host a measured and indicated resource of 668.3 Mt with an average grade of 0.176 % nickel, of which 0.099 % is nickel sulphide. Nickel sulphide minerals include pentlandite, heazlewoodite and millerite.


Te contact zones of the deposit are commonly enriched in arsenic,


hosting minerals such as gersdorffite, orcelite and nickeline. Arsenic is a troublesome element that is commonly found alongside commodities such as copper, cobalt, nickel and gold. Due to environmental restrictions, smelters give penalties for ore concentrates that contain significant amounts of arsenic and reject concentrates with more than 0.5 % arsenic. Arsenic minerals can induce crippling penalties at the smelter, if they are not well characterised and kept out of the nickel sulphide concentrate. To illustrate the accuracy of the scanning results, they were compared to conventional laboratory assays. Te scanning results were reported on a higher resolution than the conventional assay intervals. “Another great advantage is the improved resolution. At Rönnbäcken we typically assayed in 2m intervals: with Minalyze we can get a resolution that is less than a hundredth of that,” says Sjöberg. “We can actually look at the composition of a vein or alteration band right off the bat.” Te results from drill core scanning


with Minalyzer CS not only provide an accurate estimation of the total nickel content but can also indicate arsenic-rich zones in the mineralisation. Awareness of penalty elements at an early stage allows geologists to take them into consideration during the whole process of resource characterisation.


Drill core scanning provides valuable data


Annelie Lundström is CEO of Minalyze. www.minalyze.com


www.engineerlive.com 11


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