Abstract

Platinum-group minerals (PGM) typically occur in such low concentrations that quantitative mineralogical evaluation is difficult or impossible. The FEI Mineral Liberation Analyzer (MLA) system used by Vale Base Metals Technology Development has been successfully employed to produce large PGM datasets that are statistically robust. The MLA Sparse Phase Liberation mapping routine produces false-color images that accurately document mineral textures, including intergrowths between various platinum-group minerals and between PGM and other tellurides and sulfides. The MLA PGM search results can be used in conjunction with mineral compositions to calculate the distribution of platinum-group elements among minerals; the MLA PGM images can be used to produce model grade-recovery curves that can predict platinum and palladium recovery in mineral concentrator circuits.

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