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Electron Microprobe and SEM

SGS can determine the chemistry of compounds composed of elements from sodium to uranium using electron microprobe analysis. As well, we can provide images of microscopic textures and features using scanning electron microscopy. Applications for these technologies range from industrial applications, process mineralogy, mineral chemistry, industrial hygiene, dust analysis to mineral exploration.

Electron microprobe projects can include:

  • Identification of mineral or particulate phases 
  • Generation of chemical composition information
  • Determination of trace elements substituted in primary components (i.e. iron in sphalerite, nickel in pyrrhotite)
  • Speciation of various components (i.e. gold and sulfosalt speciation)
  • Provision of raw compositional data to support metal balancing
  • Generation of X-ray maps to illustrate metal distribution within texturally and compositionally complex substrates, at high magnification

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) offers quick mineralogical assessments and identifies major mineralogical trends. The image is acquired as an X-ray map using an electron microprobe. The image is then processed using image analysis software. Information is generated concerning mineral abundance, mineral grain size, liberation and association.

SEM can be successfully utilised for the characterisation of:

  • Minute details of mineral intergrowth and mineral associations
  • Gold and PGM in ores and concentrates
  • Very finely structured materials (slime fractions, fine precipitates)
  • Process residues and other synthetic complex materials
  • Amorphous and biological materials

Instruments such as the electron microprobe and SEM are mere tools - High Definition Mineralogy is the product. SGS is the industry leader in High Definition Mineralogy for the global minerals industry and other market sectors that need detailed material, product or residue characterisations. SGS mineralogy experts ensure a quality product and, from grassroots exploration to production support, provide significant interpretive value.

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