The Scanning Electron Microscope – Mineral Liberation Analyzer (SEM-MLA) laboratory, as part of the Core Research Equipment and Instrument Training (CREAIT) network of laboratories at Memorial University, NL, Canada, has recently published efforts towards increasing the throughput of automated mineralogy systems by producing single-step trans-vertical moulds, rather than traditional 30 mm polished epoxy moulds. Due to the small particle size of iron ore grains in the -200 mesh size fraction (<75 µm), not all of the surface area on a mould is needed for measurement in achieving good statistical representation. In a new study, trimming of the excess area of a mould results in a smaller sample and increases the quantity of unique samples that can fit in a newly designed trans-vertical adapter for a FEITM MLA 650 field emission gun (FEG) scanning electron microscope. The complete analysis, using a newly designed sample block holder capable of holding 98 samples, required 57 hours of running time where each sample had an average of 33 400 particles measured and identified. The analysis was calibrated to allow for off-line discrimination of hematite/magnetite. The calculated Fe-assay values derived from MLA results were compared to those from bulk sample chemical assay. This shows the Fe assay having a correlation coefficient of >0.99 when the particle count is greater than 20 000. This study represents the most expedient method yet reported to prepare well-polished samples and analyse them in a timely manner that can allow for quicker results in process mineralogy.
Grant, D C, Goudie, D J and Baird, E, 2017. Analysis of individual – mesh iron ore samples in a single Scanning electron microscope automated mineralogy session, in Proceedings Iron Ore 2017, pp 535–540 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).