The need for rare earth metals and elements is critical for the manufacturing of most digital technology that drives our global economy. Furthermore, the demand for more battery-based storage and electric vehicles will also necessitate increased discovery of commodities such as graphite, alumina, lithium, transition metals (e.g. V, Co, Mn, Ni) and rare earth elements. A majority of these mining operations have been occurring in China. For example, there are only three cesium mines in the world, all in China. However, global political instability has prompted a call for identifying and developing rare earth element mining operations in other countries.
Over the past two years, Power Metals Corp has been performing exploratory mining operations in Ontario and has identified a large source of cesium. In 2018 when Power Metals began exploration operations, geologists in the field were able to identify lithium and tantalum mineralization but the extent of the Cesium discovery wasn’t fully realized until laboratory analysis was completed. Power Metals is preparing more exploratory mining operations for the summer of 2020 and will once again conduct core sampling that require laboratory analysis. What if there was a tool that would allow those same field geologists to quickly and accurately quantify the mineralizations they were seeing in the field? Imagine how the access to accurate elemental data on-site could save costs and inform drilling and stripping operations without waiting on laboratory results.
Thanks to the continued advancement of handheld XRF technology, geologists and mining operators don’t have to use their imagination anymore. Handheld XRF gives geologists in rare earth element mining a tool to rapidly identify respective ores and indicator minerals in drill core and hand specimens (Handheld XRF machines measure elements up to 140 amu). This low cost alternative to laboratory analysis is a practical tool for supporting greenfield and brownfield exploration activities, including regolith mapping and drilling programs. Attention to detail in calibration and sample preparation is key for ensuring the most accurate measurement when using this device. That’s why it is important to find geologists that are experienced utilizing the technology.
Field Geo Services is an industry leader in providing onsite handheld XRF analysis for drilling and mining operations. FGS geologists have received extensive training in onsite sample collection and preparation, and utilize the preferred sample cup testing method for the most accurate analysis. Additionally, FGS’s onsite geologists provide thorough reporting and analysis for company officials throughout the day to quickly inform near real-time operation decisions. The result is a low-cost, accurate, onsite analysis that can drastically improve mining operations.
To discuss how Field Geo Services can benefit your rare earth element exploration and mining operation, contact Scott.Field@fieldgeoservices.com today!