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Application Note


Nickel is one of the most important base metals used widely in many industry segments. The majority of the nickel is used for
manufacturing stainless steels and nonferrous alloys. Other important uses for nickel include the manufacturing of rechargeable
batteries and special alloys. Nickel is also an important element in various plating/coating applications, as it enhances the
bonding between the layers of copper and gold on printed circuit boards.

The most important resources for Nickel are laterites where the main ore minerals are limonite (Fe,Ni)O(OH) and garnierite
(Ni,Mg)3SiO2(OH)4. Magmatic sulfide deposits are also a major source of Ni ore where the principal ore mineral is pentlandite
(Ni,Fe)9S8. The average Ni ore concentration globally is 1 % but new effective extraction techniques have made it feasible to
mine also on lower concentrations.

Russia is the worlds largest nickel producer followed by Canada, Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The largest known
reserves for nickel are in Australia and New Caledonia which form almost 50 % of the worlds known resources. Other major
reserves are located in Brazil, Russia, Canada, USA and Cuba.

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a well known and widely accepted non-destructive
method for analysing metal and multi metal ores including nickel ore.
Handheld XRF (HHXRF) provides fast and accurate on-site analysis for virtually
any mining sample type from drill cores and rocks to pulps and powders.
Immediate results enable fast decision making and significant savings, as the
number of samples to be sent to costly and time consuming laboratory analysis
can be significantly reduced.

Oxford Instruments X-MET7500 Mining Analyser combines Oxford

Instruments 45 kV X-Ray tube and high count rate, high resolution large area
Silicon Drift detector (SDD). The X-MET7500 Mining Analyser is factory
calibrated and ready to be used. For optimum performance, site-specific well
characterized samples can be measured to apply smart type standard
corrections and improve accuracy further. When a series of site specific
standards covering the range of elements and concentrations of interest is
available, a full calibration can be carried out for ultimate accuracy.

The X-MET7500 Mining Analyser never interrupts the working day for re-
standardisation or detector cooling. The instrument remains stable and can be
operated even in the harshest environments from extreme heat to freezing
cold. A single battery charge lasts for 10-12 hours, so operators do not have to
carry many spare batteries with them (2 batteries are included with the

X-MET7500 Mining Analyser

Sample preparation
The sample preparation is simple. For screening purposes drill cores and rocks can be analysed as they are, and the use of the
averaging function is recommended to get a truly representative result. For improved performance samples can be ground into a
fine powder and analysed in a sample cup. Pulps and powders can be measured either directly or in sample bag or cup. When
light elements (Mg, Al, Si, P or S) are analysed, it is important to ensure that the sample film is thin enough. A 4 m
polypropylene film is used for light element analysis. When analysing pulps or powders it is important to ensure that the
protective window remains clean. Therefore it is recommended to monitor the condition of the window regularly and swipe the
window clean with a soft brush when needed.

For best achievable accuracy the samples should be crushed, ground to a fine powder, homogenised and dried. The samples
should also be pressed into a pellet, or the powder transferred into a sample cup fitted with the thin film. For screening
purposes such sample preparation is not needed but it is important to recognize the effect of sample preparation on the analysis

When analysing samples in a sample cup or sample bag, the light stand and safety shield (delivered with the X-MET7500
Mining Analyser) or the benchtop stand (optional accessory) must be used to minimise scattered radiations. The benchtop stand
will also improve productivity when analysing large batches of sample bags or sample cups. For field testing a light radiation
shield is provided with the instrument to protect the user from scattered x-rays.

Light stand and safety shield for Light radiation shield shield for in-the- Benchtop stand for optimum
sample cup or bag analysis (included) field analysis (included) productivity (optional accessory)

Performance and results

The X-MET7500 Mining Analyser is factory pre-calibrated and comes with a variety of calibrations for analysing ores with heavy
and light elements as well as calibrations for soil analysis. Fundamental Parameters (FP) calibrations are semi-quantitative
methods that rely on the principles of physics to calculate the measured samples elemental composition. FP methods can be
used for a wide variety of sample types and matrices.
Application Note

Because the matrix between different mining sites or even within the same site can change dramatically, type standards are
used to make the necessary matrix corrections on site. With the X-MET7500 Mining Analyser, this is a simple and rapid task.
Type standards can be added on site by the operator using the X-MET user-friendly software in a matter of minutes. No PC
connection or external software is needed for the procedure.
The data in the graph and tables below are analyses carried out with the X-MET factory calibrations Mining Mode and Mining LE
FP. No type standards or other corrections were used in the calculations.

Graph 1: Nickel ore

accuracy comparison
with ten CRM
samples, 30 seconds
measurement time.
Samples were
analysed with Mining

18.09 3.20 3016 1114 1270 835 146

18.00 3.21 2910 1187 1358 924 135
18.23 3.24 2981 1073 1347 985 158
18.27 3.27 3033 1093 1289 931 175
18.28 3.29 3186 950 1369 911 152
AVERAGE 18.17 3.24 3025 1083 1327 917 153
Standard deviation (1 ) 0.12 0.04 102 86 44 54 15
Certified 18.43 3.27 2856 1170 1006 750 180

Table 1: Nickel ore precision (repeatability). Five measurements, 30 seconds measurement time. Sample analysed with Mining Mode

19.79 3.57 2900 1164 1040 580 6.33 14.05 2.13 10.93
18.90 3.48 3080 1085 764 575 7.31 13.96 2.02 10.85
19.71 3.61 2880 1166 1035 769 6.50 13.87 2.06 11.30
19.29 3.66 2767 1095 800 672 6.79 13.78 1.97 11.08
18.68 3.39 3095 1055 1111 672 7.98 13.81 1.91 11.37
AVERAGE 19.28 3.54 2944 1113 950 654 6.98 13.9 2.02 11.10
Standard deviation (1 ) 0.49 0.11 140 50 157 80 0.67 0.11 0.08 0.23
Certified 18.43 3.27 2856 1170 1006 750 7.80 13.52 1.94 10.50

Table 2: Nickel ore precision (repeatability) with light elements (Mg-S). Five measurements, 60 second measurement time. Sample
analysed with Mining LE FP

The results obtained with both Mining LE FP and Mining Mode present excellent accuracy and precision for all the key elements
of interest in nickel ores including the key light elements such as sulfur.
Summary Oxford Instruments
Industrial Analysis
The X-MET7500 Mining Analyser is designed to withstand the harshest environments
For more information please email:
(complies with IP54). The analyser is equipped with Oxford Instruments state of the art industrial@oxinst.com
miniature X-ray tube and large area silicon drift detector (SDD). The instrument provides UK
excellent accuracy and repeatability when analysing nickel ores therefore providing Tubney Woods, Abingdon,
Oxfordshire, OX13 5QX, UK
significant cost and time savings when operating on the field. Tel: +44 1865 393 374
The X-METs intuitive smartphone-like graphical user interface makes using the instrument Floor 1, Building 60,
very easy and intuitive. The analyser stores up to 100 000 results including spectra and No. 461 HongCao Road,
Shanghai, 200233, PRC
provides flexible data transfer options including USB flash drive, USB and wireless. Operators Tel: + 86 21 61273858
can create customized reports and save the files either in secure PDF format or as CSV for India
11, Marwahs Complex,
effortless editing or database integration.
Andheri East,
Mumbai, 400072, India
The X-MET7500 Mining Analyser can be equipped with an optional CCD camera for Tel.: +91 22 4253 5100
convenient sample positioning on ore veins. Images can be saved with the results for future Japan
reference. The X-MET is compatible with both commercial grade (Nokia) and professional IS Building,
3-32-42, Higashi-Shinagawa,
grade (Trimble) GPS receivers to integrate analysis results and location information. Shinagawa-ku,
Tokyo, 140-0002, Japan
Tel: +81 3 6732 8970
Ordering Information Singapore
10 Ubi Crescent 04-81,
The X-MET7500 Mining Analyser package (P/No 4106173) includes the waterproof, Ubi Techpark, Lobby E,
rugged carrying case, a lanyard, 2 Li-ion batteries, a battery charger, the light radiation Singapore, 408564, Singapore
Tel: +65 6337 6848
shield to minimise scattered radiations, the background plate to measure samples in bags
and to standardise the background, the light stand and safety shield to measure sample 300 Baker Avenue, Suite 150,
Concord, Mass 01742, USA
cups, a USB cable to connect to a PC/laptop, 5 replacement thin Prolene windows, mining Tel: +1 978 369 9933
and soil check samples and the user manuals.

Optional Extras:
Sample cups (P/No. 4106018 for a bag of 100)

4m polypropylene film (P/No. 3063620 for a roll of 100 m)

Empirical calibration software (P/No. 4105741)

Benchtop stand Kit X-MET7000 Series (P/No. 4105855)

Integrated camera (P/No. 4105938)

X-MET Holster (P/No. 3063205) for hands-free transportation in the field

X-MET7000 Series extendable pole (P/No. 3063590)

For more information visit www.oxford-instruments.com/x-met7000 www.oxford-instruments.com

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writing) may not be used, applied or reproduced for any purpose or form part of any order or contract or regarded as the representation
relating to the products or services concerned. Oxford Instruments policy is one of continued improvement. The company reserves the
right to alter, without notice the specification, design or conditions of supply of any product or service. Oxford Instruments acknowledges
all trademarks and registrations. Oxford Instruments plc, 2013. All rights reserved. Part no: XMET-AN-008

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