Minerology techniques

Considering all of the analytical techniques described for mineralogy in this unit, explain in detail which technique would be the most suitable for:

1. Mineral identification in a milled ore sample? Why?
2. Measuring the amount of solid solution gold in pyrite? Why?
3. Determining the grain size and degree of interlocking in a pyrite-chalcopyrite-sphalerite ore? Why?
4. Suggesting the economic implications of penalty elements? Why?

Question – 2

A supergene ore from a magmatic nickel sulphide deposit near Kambalda contains pyrite, violarite (FeNi2S4), chalcopyrite and millerite (NiS).

(i) Give a brief overall description of magmatic nickel sulphide deposits?

(ii) Describe the transformation of the primary sulphides (in the hypogene zone) to secondary sulphides (supergene enrichment)? Use chemical reactions where appropriate.

(iii) Using the table of mean atomic numbers and the formula for calculating mean Z (in your lecture notes), discuss the suitability of using an SEM/back-scattered electron (BE) system for carrying out mineralogical investigations of this ore. In your discussion, assume that there needs to be a difference of about 0.5 in the mean atomic numbers between minerals, in order to distinguish them on a BE image.


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