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Worldwide, thousands of tailings have accumulated as processing residues by the mining industry. Many tailings still contain significant amounts of base, rare earth and critical metals.

As a consequence of the rising demand from high-tech industries, tailings have come into focus as a source of raw materials. Fugro has developed a new-generation site characterization tool for fast, accurate and cost-effective in-situ screening of tailings.

Combining the standard cone penetration test (CPT) with a built-in X-ray fluorescence (XRF) system, the XRF-CPT detects geotechnical parameters, such as lithology and density, as well as the metal contents and their distribution within tailing bodies — in-situ, in real-time and with high resolution.

The element-specific X-ray fluorescence radiation is measured by a highly sensitive detector and displayed as energy spectra. Through prior calibration against certified standards, the detected values are converted into measured element concentrations within the screened soils.

In this paper, we present exploration experiences on Chilean copper tailings, ranging from field work to the subsequent 3-D modeling of the spatial element distribution within the investigated tailing bodies.

Further reading

Exhibitor: Fugro Germany Land GmbH


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