Minerals

A wide range of metallic, industrial and waste minerals can be analysed either as bulk granular material or individual pieces.

Critical minerals

There are a new generation of metals and semi-metals that will be critical for both hi-tech and green applications. We have tailored packages for selenium, indium, tellurium and rare earth elements (REE).

Heavy minerals

For details of our heavy mineral analytical capability, please see the rock and sediments page.

Industrial minerals

We can calculate radioactivity indices in gypsum by measuring natural radium, thorium and potassium activity. We have developed a method for analysis of complex matrices such as fly ash, gypsum or polyhalite.

Trace and major elements capability

The facility has two inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) instruments, one Agilent 7500 (UKAS accredited for aqueous samples to ISO 17025) and a Spectro Array ICP-MS.

We have capability for:

  • high throughput survey scale analyses of 55 elements, plus iodine using a TMAH matrix
  • low volume analyses (< 5ml, including IC, pH/Alk, NPOC)
  • elemental speciation of arsenic, chromium and selenium using high performance liquid chromatography ICP-MS
  • isotope ratio analyses for uranium (e.g. DU) and lead (provenancing)

In addition, we have one inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) instrument for high total dissolved solids solutions.

Gamma emitting isotopes capability

Natural daughter products from uranium and thorium decay, such as 210Pb, may be used as environmental tracers. Occasionally anthropogenic processes such as oil or gas extraction may pre-concentrate these to hazardous levels i.e. radium in barium sulphate-rich brines. Some of these may be measured using our Canberra Broad Energy germanium gamma spectrometers.

Certain artificial isotopes may be found in our environment or industrial processes due to past nuclear releases i.e. 137Cs from atmospheric bomb tests or 60Co from steel irradiation. Some of these may be measured using our Canberra Broad Energy germanium gamma spectrometers.

Contact

Please contact Michael Watts, Charles Gowing or Simon Chenery for further information.