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South Africa: Laser Technology for Determining Gold Grade
Source: CSIR e-News - November 2013
Source Date: Friday, November 29, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Nov 29, 2013

The aim of the project is to test whether it is possible to detect and/or determine the gold grade on narrow gold reef deposits.
LIBS is a mature technology that is capable of detecting trace quantities of elements in a variety of materials. Though the technology is mature, it has not been used for the detection and determination of gold grade in mines.
The LIBS technique operates by focusing a high-power pulsed laser onto a small area at the surface of a rock sample. The laser pulse ablates a very small amount of material which generates a luminescent plasma plume. Because all elements emit light of characteristic frequencies when excited, LIBS can detect all elements; limited only by the power of the laser, the sensitivity, and wavelength range of the spectrograph and detector.
The project – dubbed MineLibs – commenced in the second quarter of this year and is envisaged to be a long-term project depending on the outcomes of the research, says the CSIR’s Dr Jeannette McGill, who is the project leader.
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