Sharper shooters

Published on: December 2017

Rugged, sensitive and well connected handheld technologies make for better decisions in the field

Just a decade ago, a handheld point-and-shoot x-ray fluorescence (XRF) instrument was considered a cool but rare toy to play with in the field on a remote greenfield exploration project. If held in place long enough, it would detect a small range of chemical elements in a handful of soil. Fast-forward ten years and the cool toy has evolved into an industry staple, with a variety of instruments and uses across the entire mining value chain.

Portable XRF (pXRF) tools have been joined by other miniaturized laboratory technologies, including portable x-ray diffraction (XRD) and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to name a few. Just like their laboratory-based cousins, these scientific instruments bounce an x-ray or laser beam off the atoms or crystals within a rock, soil or core sample to identify the elements and minerals it contains. Now able to detect a wider range of elements more precisely and identify elements and minerals in only a few seconds, these instruments are generating quality data in real-time to help make informed decisions in the field and on the mine site.

Read the full story in the Technology section of CIM Magazine.