Phosphate Ore Analysis through LIBS

In the dynamic field of mineral extraction, industries are continuously challenged to make their process as efficient, cost-effective, and ecologically responsible as possible. The process of phosphate ore beneficiation, crucial for producing valuable phosphate products, could see a remarkable breakthrough with the application of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS).

One of the most significant challenges in phosphate ore processing is the presence of silica-rich ore pebbles. These abrasive pebbles cause significant erosion and damage to the processing equipment during grinding. The consequence? Operational drawbacks and increased maintenance costs. By efficiently determining ore grade in the early steps of the mining process, phosphate mines will be able to avoid low-grade dilution, both benefiting the environment and saving transportation costs.

Recognizing the need for a reliable indicator of ore rock quality, researchers have turned to the ratio of phosphorous to silica line intensities (P/Si ratio). Studies have proven it to be a simple and reliable indicator of ore rock quality. This is where LIBS demonstrates another example of its usefulness, thanks to its capability to provide real-time data on the P/Si ratio for each individual ore “shot“. 

This is an unparalleled LIBS application where no other existing analytical spectroscopic technique (such as ICP or XRF) can be applied. 

With its simplicity, speed, and economic advantages, LIBS holds the potential to significantly impact the phosphate industry. At AtomTrace, we are currently developing a machine designed to automatically analyze geological material in-situ, directly at the drilling site.

Source: ScienceDirect


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