Unearthed Adelaide 201628 May - 30 May
From Idea to Prototype on Resource Challenges in just a Weekend
This competition has finished.
Rapid identification of minerals in samples
Iluka Resources is seeking innovative approaches to quickly determine the amount minerals of interest present in a sample.
Currently geologists collect samples from the field (reconnaissance ‘grab’ sample / auger sample) or drilling and initially analyse them for heavy mineral assemblage (the relative proportions of each type of mineral in the heavy mineral ‘mix’) through a pocket microscope. This estimation is a basic skill for geologists; however, there is variation in the estimation of proportions of the different valuable minerals. This is core to assessing new prospects and their potential value. Samples are subsequently sent to laboratories (Iluka and external) for either grain counting (experienced mineralogist), QEMScan (modal chemical analysis) or Bulk analysis (Iluka methods to simulate performance of separation plants + subsequent quality analysis). Laboratory analysis takes between 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on availability. This limits the speed and confidence with which geologists can make decisions about prospects and projects.
Potential Areas to consider:
To develop a prototype for an instant mineralogical analysis available ASAP to help drive exploration towards a discovery as fast as possible.
The approach need not be absolutely correct as far as assemblage goes, but should produce repeatable and reproducible estimation of mineral assemblage contained in the samples.
It is important that the approach must be quick and easy to perform, and it must not be dependent on any particular operator/logger skills.
Additional credit will be given to any team that develops the ability to determine grain size and grain size distribution in addition to mineralogy.
Ideally, a solution will be proposed that can be used in the field. As such it needs to be:
- Portable (including taken on aeroplanes)
- Fast (analysis should be instantaneous, or as close as possible to it)
- Rugged (the field is dirty, dusty and rough)
- Compatible (it should be run on a standard high end laptop, if required)