MINERAL SANDS EXPLORATION SERVICES CAPABILITY

Geotrack International Pty Ltd offers a range of services to the mineral sands industry aimed at providing focussed and cost-effective solutions to common exploration and development problems. All services are performed in-house at our Melbourne Laboratory complex by experienced personnel, ensuring high-quality analyses in a timely fashion.

Characterisation of Mineral Sands

Uranium content and distribution - UMAP™ technology

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Zircon grain mount (X 125)             Fission track print in mica (X 125)

The density of fission tracks is directly proportional to the U-content of the corresponding grains. Note the extreme variation in U-content and zoned distribution.

The uranium content of rutile and zircon, in particular, is a key constraint on the marketability of mineral product. In the United States, for instance, transport of zircon sands with only moderate uranium content is highly restricted and requires special permit procedures and stringent conditions. These restrictions significantly increase the cost of movement and hence the final product. Low U feed stock is thus a very desirable commodity.

Geotrack’s UMAP™ technology allows the rapid and accurate determination of uranium in any mineral on an individual grain basis. This enables low-U deposits to be cost-effectively targeted early in the exploration phase potentially preventing costly works on non-viable prospects. The technology is also used in tracing uranium through processing plants, essential for rapid process development and refinement.

We have also developed this technique to identify low-uranium zircons as a diamond indicator mineral, being particularly suitable for studies in highly weathered terrains where the common indicator suite is absent.

Geochronology - Zircon Fission Track and CHIME Monazite dating

Geotrack offers the only fully commercial fission track dating and analysis services in Australia with each of the senior staff having been involved with this technology for more than 20 years. Single grain fission track dating of zircon (ZFTA™) provides the most cost-effective dating technology for mineral sands provenance studies and this can be complemented by fission track dating of both sphene and apatite and the CHIME TH-U-total Pb technique for monazite. Costs can be lower than $25.00 per grain for CHIME and $120.00 per grain for ZFTA.

Mineral Separation Laboratory

Our Melbourne laboratory complex houses a comprehensive mineral separation facility for small sample analysis constructed and maintained to all current Australian Standards. Equipment includes fume cupboards for heavy liquid separations, Wilfley separation table, Frantz magnetic separators, jaw and plate crushers, washing and drying facilities. Geotrack is AQIS (Australia Quarantine Inspection Service) licensed and is able to receive and treat overseas samples of both rocks and soils for analysis without costly delays.

X-ray mineral identification - Scanning Electron Microscopy

Mineral identifications can be performed by semi-quantitative X-ray analysis using our Jeol JSM 35 scanning electron microscope equipped with a Kevex EDS system. Typically a diagnostic X-Ray spectrum can be collected in less than 30 seconds, providing a very cost-effective identification of problem minerals. A WDS spectrometer allows quantitative analysis of a variety of elements if required. Digital imaging is standard on the SEM.

Our SEM equipment can normally be available with less than 1 hour notice, to suite your immediate requirements.

Quantitative mineral composition - Electron microprobe

Quantitative analysis of minerals is performed using a fully automated Jeol JXA-5A electron microprobe equipped with 3 WDS spectrometers. The unit has a computer controlled x-y-z stage system allowing off site analysis position information to be transferred ensuring minimum machine time charges. Systems can be developed (mostly at no charge to the client) for the quantitative analysis of most minerals, using a comprehensive suite of international standards for optimum accuracy. Precision can be tailored to client requirements within equipment limits. Our Operations Manager, Pat Kelly has more than 25 years direct experience running, maintaining and using electron beam equipment ensuring a high quality result every time.

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