Advanced Fluorine Analysis

Advanced Fluorine Analysis

IMG_2428bFluorine is the 13th most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and as mining projects venture further into marginal or ‘dirty’ ores, Fluorine is increasingly gaining attention as an unwanted penalty element. Emissions from fluorine during smelting can cause significant damage to the environment.  Operations incur heavy financial penalties if levels are too high in concentrates sold to smelters.

The need for accuracy in the analysis of Fluorine is critical in both the management of mineral processes and the sale of concentrates.  In spite of its importance, Fluorine analysis by traditional methods, usually ISE (Ion Selective Electrode), continues to be notoriously difficult.

Fluorine analysis is traditionally labour intensive which requires a high skill level and has many interferences. Our HPLC overcomes most of these issues providing accurate results with a robust method that is suitable for a wide range of sample types.   Geoff Whebell – COO

In the last 12 months Core has developed a robust method for the analysis of Fluorine using a university grade HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatograph).  The Dionex ICS5000 instrument in use in our lab is only one of 12 in Australia, and the only in a commercial laboratory.  HPLC systems are used for the determination of anions and cations in solids and solutions.

Our HPLC system has a neutralisation unit and Eluent suppressor which is the best analytical technique for Fluorine analysis on copper concentrate samples. The neutralisation unit neutralises the alkaline sample solution before injection to the instrument’s analytical column.

Our HPLC system involves only one single step of sample injection after sample fusion. Therefore, we can deliver highly accurate results much faster than other methods.   Pau Chieng – Technical Manager

This suppressor and neutraliser technology bypasses the need for manual pH buffering, a time-consuming preparation step in traditional ISE methods.  It also overcomes matrix interferences from Cu, often found in the analysis of Cu Concentrates.  The method developed provides fast, robust & accurate Fluorine analysis, even at low levels.

We have successfully tested water samples <5ppm F, low level Fluorine in concentrates and ores 0.01-0.42% all the way up to spec pure Fluorspar of up to 48% F.   Phil Whittle – Lab Manager

A number of processing options are available to extract excessive levels of Fluorine in the production of concentrates. These include:

  • Removal of Fluorine-containing minerals by flotation using depressants
  • Selective leaching of Fluorine minerals
  • Selective leaching of copper minerals

All of these processes can be tested at Core.  In any of these processes, accurate analysis and metallurgical balancing are critical.

Our laboratory has R&D and piloting capabilities supported by the highest quality testing instruments and processes necessary to work collaboratively with our clients on emerging technologies. Our priority is in setting the highest testing standards while safeguarding the relevant intellectual property of our clients.

We offer this analytical technology either as part of testwork programmes conducted at our facilities, or as a site support service for operations managing Fluorine issues in their process.  For further enquiries, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.