How to Automate Sampling and Analysis of Ores and Mine Materials

by Philippine Resources - March 29, 2022

Photo: Vanta™ iX In-Line XRF Analyzer

Accurate chemical analysis can provide vital data to enhance mining operations, such as improved extraction at mine sites and the optimized blending of mined material. However, sending samples to remote laboratories can cause delays ranging from hours to days. In addition, manually collected samples may not be representative of the bulk material. Automating this process and bringing the laboratory to the samples increases productivity. This can be done by adopting an automatic on-belt sampling solution.

An Introduction to Automated On-Belt Sampling and Analysis

Automatic on-belt sampling solutions provide instant chemical analysis of bulk mined material, such as coal, aluminum (Al), titanium (Ti), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), nickel (Ni), and copper (Cu) ores. For instance, our on-belt sampling solution integrates the powerful Vanta™ in-line XRF analyzer to provide a fast, automated, and accurate analysis:

  • Real-time chemical analysis of mining feed material on belt
  • Excellent sensitivity to trace elements
  • Quantification of up to 30 elements in one measurement
  • Detection down to 1 ppm for key elements
  • Analysis of light elements, including magnesium (Mg), aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), and sulfur (S)

3-Step Process for Automated On Belt Analysis

To help you understand how automated on-belt analysis works, here is the process in three simple steps:

  1. Collect - Samples are collected from the belt automatically using a cross-belt sampler, without the need to stop or slow the belt. The system can be designed to meet relevant sampling and preparation standards, including ISO 12743, ISO 13909, ASTM E877, and ASTM D7430.
  2. Prepare - The collected samples are crushed to the required size. The moisture content is measured and recorded to remove measurement bias. The samples are pressed and ready for chemical  analysis using X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The entire preparation process is automatically controlled and monitor.
  3. Analyze - The prepared samples are analyzed using the Vanta iX in-line XRF analyzer. The data collection and analysis are fully automated. After analysis, the results can be seamless integrated into a plant workflow and data management system. This enables the right person to have the right data at the right time.

Key Benefits of Automated On-Belt Analysis for Mining Operations

Automated on-belt analysis has many benefits for mining operations, including:

  • Fully automated and continuous to maintain high productivity
  • Can be seamlessly integrated into existing plants
  • No radioactive material used unlike alternative methods
  • High-quality results from direct sample analysis compared to methods that perform through belt measurements
  • Real-time laboratory-quality measurements
  • Modular design for ease of maintenance

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