Balaram, V.; Sawant, S.S. Indicator Minerals, Pathfinder Elements, and Portable Analytical Instruments in Mineral Exploration Studies. Minerals2022, 12, 394.
Balaram, V.; Sawant, S.S. Indicator Minerals, Pathfinder Elements, and Portable Analytical Instruments in Mineral Exploration Studies. Minerals 2022, 12, 394.
Until recently, the classic approach to mineral exploration studies is to bring the field samples/drill cores collected during field studies to the laboratory followed by laborious analysis procedures to generate the analytical data. This is very expensive, time consuming and difficult for exploring vast areas. But rapid technological advances in field portable analytical instruments such as portable ultraviolet–visible and near-infrared spectrophotometers, gamma ray spectrometer, pXRF, pXRD, pLIBS, and µRaman spectrometer have changed this scenario completely and increased their on-site applications in mineral exploration studies. These instruments are currently providing direct, rapid, on-site, real-time, non-destructive, cost-effective identification, and determination of target elements, indicator minerals and pathfinder elements in rock, soil, and sediment samples. These portable analytical instruments are currently helping to obtain accurate chemical and mineralogical information directly in field with minimal or no sample preparation, and providing decision-making support during field work as well as during drilling operations in several successful mineral exploration programs. In this article, the developments in these portable devices, and their contributions in the platinum group elements (PGE), rare earth elements (REE), gold, base metals, and lithium exploration studies both on land and on ocean bed have been summarized with examples.
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