LIBS mineralogy – quantitative mineralogy on the belt

Blouin, Gagnon, El-Haddad, Soares de Lima Filho, Vanier, Harhira, Bouchard, Boismenu, Hamel, Beauchesne, Padioleau, Vaillancourt, Plugatyr, Sabsabi, Wilkie

Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020


Quantitative mineralogy is an established discipline in the geosciences and is aimed at providing mineral grade and texture information for geological and mineral processing applications. The two core technologies underpinning Quantitative Mineralogical Analysis (QMA) are Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) in combination with Energy-dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS). Technologies such as QEMSCAN and MLA are now routinely used to optimise the performance of large-scale mineral processing plants in the base and precious metal sectors.

One of the major disadvantages of the QMA methods used today is extensive sample preparation requirements which make application of this technique to real-time mineralogical characterization not feasible. A breakthrough has been achieved by the National Research Council Canada in collaboration with CRC ORE by developing a novel Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) based technology capable of real-time mineralogical characterization of process streams without sample preparation.

The potential applications of this technology include, but not limited to, in-pit muck piles, underground draw points, cross-belt analysis as well as slurries. This paper describes the development of the LIBS-based technology from a proof-of-concept (TRL2) to the construction of a prototype sensor and its validation in a simulated environment (TRL5). Future work is being planned to test and further validate the LIBS sensor on a mine-site which will progress the technology to its next readiness level (TRL6)


A Blouin1, D Gagnon1, J El-Haddad1, E Soares de Lima Filho1, F Vanier1, A Harhira1, P Bouchard1, F Boismenu1, A Hamel1, A Beauchesne1, C Padioleau1, T Vaillancourt1, A Plugatyr1, M Sabsabi1 and G J Wilkie2

1. Energy, Mining and Environment, National Research Council Canada, 75 de Mortagne Blvd, Boucherville, QC, Canada, J4B 6Y4.

2. CRC ORE, QCAT, Technology Transfer Centre, 1 Technology Court Pullenvale, Qld 4069 Australia.


The collaboration between the authors would not have been possible without the financial support from CRC ORE. CRC ORE is part of the Australian Government’s CRC Program, which is made possible through the investment and ongoing support of the Australian Government. The CRC Program supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community.

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