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Minerals 2017, 7(1), 12; doi:10.3390/min7010012

Optimization and Quality Control of Automated Quantitative Mineralogy Analysis for Acid Rock Drainage Prediction

1
SGS Minerals Chile, Geometallurgy Area, Puerto Madero 130, Pudahuel, Santiago 9061073, Chile
2
Division of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå 97187, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Javier Sánchez-España
Received: 6 November 2016 / Revised: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 21 January 2017
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Abstract

Low ore-grade waste samples from the Codelco Andina mine that were analyzed in an environmental and mineralogical test program for acid rock drainage prediction, revealed inconsistencies between the quantitative mineralogical data (QEMSCAN®) and the results of geochemical characterizations by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS), LECO® furnace, and sequential extractions). For the QEMSCAN® results, biases were observed in the proportions of pyrite and calcium sulfate minerals detected. An analysis of the results indicated that the problems observed were likely associated with polished section preparation. Therefore, six different sample preparation protocols were tested and evaluated using three samples from the previous study. One of the methods, which involved particle size reduction and transverse section preparation, was identified as having the greatest potential for correcting the errors observed in the mineralogical analyses. Further, the biases in the quantities of calcium sulfate minerals detected were reduced through the use of ethylene glycol as a polishing lubricant. It is recommended that the sample preparation methodology described in this study be used in order to accurately quantify percentages of pyrite and calcium sulfate minerals in environmental mineralogical studies which use automated mineralogical analysis. View Full-Text
Keywords: automated quantitative mineralogy; environmental mineralogy; polished section preparation; QEMSCAN®; acid mine drainage prediction automated quantitative mineralogy; environmental mineralogy; polished section preparation; QEMSCAN®; acid mine drainage prediction
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Pooler, R.; Dold, B. Optimization and Quality Control of Automated Quantitative Mineralogy Analysis for Acid Rock Drainage Prediction. Minerals 2017, 7, 12.

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