ABSTRACT

Very often, ore bodies are found in altered porous materials that are rich in clay minerals. These altered rocks are in turn characterized by a relatively high normalized chargeability (product of the chargeability by the high frequency conductivity) or electrical quadrature conductivity with respect to clay-free materials. We have performed 36 experiments in which dispersed pyrite grains were mixed with a background host material composed of some pore water (NaCl, 5001000  μScm1 at 25°C or tap water), Na-exchanged bentonite, and silica grains. The induced polarization spectra were obtained in the frequency range of 1 mHz to 45 kHz at room temperature (21±1°C). The spectra of the background porous materials alone (i.e., without pyrite) were also measured. The normalized chargeability and the quadrature conductivity of the sand-clay mixtures are consistent with available theoretical relationships. These new data complete previous data sets showing a clear relationship among the normalized chargeability, quadrature conductivity, surface conductivity, and cation exchange capacity. Bentonite is characterized by very high quadrature and surface conductivities. The normalized chargeability and the quadrature conductivity of the sand-clay mixtures (no pyrite) increase with the clay content. In the presence of pyrite, the chargeability and the phase lag depend primarily on the volume content of pyrite in a predictable way. The Cole-Cole exponent, characterizing the particle size distribution of the pyrite grains, is independent of the clay content. Still, in the presence of pyrite, the magnitude of the phase peak and the phase peak frequency depend on the clay content in a way that is not explained by the current model. We have observed that the Cole-Cole relaxation time, in the presence of pyrite, is inversely proportional to the conductivity of the background material.

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