Applications of XRD and XRF

Battery Minerals

X-ray Mineral Services (XMS) are currently working with the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) on a 22 M€ Business Finland initiative, led by Aalto University, involving research into the Circular Economy of Battery Metals - "BATCircle". The key objective of the BATCircle project is to find ways of adding value to the battery metals sector. This will be achieved by more efficient screening and utilisation of mineral resources, enhancement of the metal refining processes, more efficient recycling of battery metals, improved co-operation between the companies and research organisations, as well as through the identification of new business opportunities between partners. XMS are developing new analytical workflows that will allow us to become a world-leading centre of excellence to grade raw materials and process control products in battery mineral exploration and battery material production.

The aim of the BATCircle is to develop a more effective way of characterizing battery minerals, such as cobalt-bearing ores, in the context of mineral processing response, which leads to a more efficient use of natural resources. The project involves a geometallurgical experimental and analytical procedure for cobalt related battery minerals that allows for process characterization on drill core-scale samples to be validated with case studies. An essential part of this process is quantitative X-ray diffraction (QXRD) to identify and quantify the battery minerals present, as well as complementary X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis for bulk elemental characterization. The identification and accurate quantification of all commercially significant minerals is required, along with in-depth development work to achieve consistently reliable results.

This development work includes but is not limited to:

  • sample preparation
  • mineral calibrations
  • modelling spectral interferences in these unusual matrix types
  • developing data QC procedures
  • undertaking mineral validation analyses

XMS were chosen as a key sub-contractor by the Geological Survey of Finland for this high-profile project based on our unique technical and commercial offering in the field of QXRD, in particular our expertise in Rietveld-based XRD, along with our ability to process and report large sample sets within acceptable turnaround times (days and weeks not months) at competitive prices.

Data quality is regularly checked by participation in inter-laboratory proficiency tests and competitions. Click for more details.

Cobaltite from Finland - A battery mineral case study

Cobaltite (CoAsS) is a cobalt-arsenic-sulphide and is one of the primary mineral sources of cobalt.

Lithium-Mica Minerals

The mica group of minerals are phyllosilicates with a common basic crystal structure. Of the 41 species currently known, we are going to demonstrate the ability of X-ray diffraction (XRD) to distinguish 4 of them: muscovite, biotite, zinnwaldite and lepidolite.

Spodumene

Spodumene is an unusual type of pyroxene with a lithium content that is present in commercially significant amounts (percent levels). It is one of only a few natural primary sources of lithium and is therefore currently in high demand as a battery mineral due to the current use in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.