At every stage during the life cycle of a mineral deposit, from exploration to resource evaluation, mine planning, plant design and operation, product quality control, and through to closure and site rehabilitation, the information from mineralogical investigations should form an integral part of the knowledge base related to the resource.


Scanning Electron Microscopy With Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectrometer (SEM/EDS)

Scanning Electron Microscopy is a high resolution imaging technique, with a great depth of field. It shows topographical, structural and elemental information at low magnification up to 200,000X magnification. The use of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) technology is an invaluable aid in identifying and characterizing mineral and material phases together with  surface features.

Scanning Electron Microscopy is conducted at Mintek utilising a Zeiss  Evo MA15 equipped with a Bruker EDS system.

A wide variety of information is obtained from SEM analysis, such as:

  • Secondary electron images  –  Secondary electrons (SE) are low energy electrons ejected from the sample surface, giving rise to high resolution images to provide topographic information.
  • Backscattered Electron Images (BSE)  –  BSE emission intensity is a function of the specimen’s average atomic mass, i.e., the higher the atomic number of the phase analysed, the brighter the BSE image. BSE images provides qualitative compositional data
  • X-ray Element Maps  –  Maps showing the relative concentration of elements present in a sample can be produced
  • X-ray analysis – Semi-quantitative (standardless) or quantitative chemical analysis using reference standards.