The role of the ore microscope and electron microprobe in the mining industry

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 817, 1980

CLAUDIA GASPARRINI, Consultant in Mineralogy, Metallurgy and Ore Microscopy, Minmet Scientific Ltd., Toronto, Ontario

The ore microscope and electron microprobe, two common instruments for academic research, have not been used to full advantage in the Canadian mining industry, perhaps because they are not readily available to most mining companies.The present paper gives a description of the two instruments and of the manner in which, when used together, they contribute to the identification and description of mineralogical and metallurgical samples, and reviews the applications, to date, in the mineral industry.The metallurgical applications can assist in determining the best separation technique for a particular metal or other economically important element, can provide explanations for poor recovery and/or liberation, can be used to determine the optimum concentrate grade and can indicate environmental problems that may arise from the extraction process.In certain cases, the use of the two instruments may assist in the evaluation of new mineral deposits and in the determination of the origin of mineralization.
Keywords: Mineral exploration, Exploration techniques, Metallurgical sampling, Microscopy, Ore microscope, Electron microprobe, Uranium, Nickel, Platinum group, Gold, Silver, Sulphosalts, Iron, Mercury.