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Energy minerals analysis

Green energy transition

The transition to green energy requires improvements and changes to battery technology. The storage of increased energy in batteries has resulted in technology that makes use of metals not commonly used in the past. Lithium is one such element that is the focus of much interest due to its use in battery chemistries.

Transición a la energía verde

Extensive range of analytical methods

The analytical methods required for a particular resource type are often unique. ALS offers analysis products for all mineral types with detection levels ranging from super-trace methods applicable for exploration, through to high grade samples. Decades of experience analysing samples from across the globe have resulted in technical proficiency and client support that distinguishes ALS in the commercial geochemical analysis sector.

Amplia gama de métodos analíticos


The different geological settings of uranium mineralisation have significantly variable amenability to acid dissolution. Magmatic high temperature systems often contain uranium concentrations in rare and resistate minerals such as uraninite, monazite, fluorite, sphene, xenotime, zircon, or apatite. Associated elements and trace elements may include K, Th, Rb, Cs, and the REEs. Placer and conglomerate-hosted uranium deposits are also characterised by resistate minerals and gold. Breccia pipes and roll-front REDOX style mineralisation most often contain uranium as soluble primary and secondary oxide minerals. Uranium in these deposits is often associated with elevated levels of Se and V, having been precipitated from oxidised groundwater by reducing agents such as pyrite, H2S and organics or in association with Fe-oxides. To support uranium analysis methods, a range of uranium specific CRMs are used routinely for superior quality control.

Handling of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) samples

ALS is qualified and experienced in handling NORM samples, particularly in areas with active uranium exploration and mining industries. Furthermore, added laboratory certification exists in certain jurisdictions



Lithium is concentrated by magmatic fractional crystallisation and partial melting, which results in higher concentrations in some pegmatites and muscovite-bearing granites. During rock weathering, lithium in several mineral hosts can be taken into solution and transported with water. Locations where water is trapped inland under arid conditions concentrate the lithium into residual brines. These concentration mechanisms have formed the two main commercial Li deposit types; pegmatites and continental lithium brines in closed basins. Other sources of viable lithium resources include geothermal brines, oilfield brines, and clay minerals such as hectorite and jadarite.

Lithium method range

ALS offers a range of methods that are suitable for all matrix types and at all stages of a project, from exploration to resource definition and grade control. For assistance choosing the correct analytical method for your requirements please contact your local client services team at ALS. When submitting your samples please indicate that the commodity target is lithium, particularly when selecting multi-element packages. This allows ALS to insert lithium-specific Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) for the highest quality results and laboratory performance monitoring.


Rare Earth Elements

The Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are the 15 lanthanides of the periodic table of elements, but often scandium and yttrium are included in the definition due to their similar chemical behaviour. The importance of this group of elements has grown in recent years due to their use in a variety of industrial applications, particularly electronics, clean energy, and automobiles.

Fusion Decomposition

Minerals that host rare earth elements are often among the most resistant to attack by acids. For this reason, generally methods for determining rare earth element compositions use a fusion digestion which break down all minerals at high temperatures. Methods are available for a range of detection limits for rare earth elements from trace levels for exploration sampling through to ore-grade analysis.

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Industrial Minerals

The definition of industrial minerals generally excludes metallic minerals, fuels, and gemstones. However, there are some metallic minerals such as magnesite and ilmenite/rutile, which are still considered in the industrial mineral grouping. The use of industrial minerals is varied and extensive, and includes application in batteries, fertilisers, and steel production.

Extensive range of methods

ALS offers methods suitable for a range of industrial minerals including, but not limited to, graphite, bauxite, rare earth elements, magnesite, ilmenite/rutile, limestone/dolomite, clays, potash, lithium, boron, phosphates, zircon, talc, soda ash, fluorspar, silica, and feldspar. Some of the more commonly analysed materials, such as bauxite and lithium, are described in more detail in other sections of this webpage. For industrial minerals the optimal choice of analytical method will depend on several factors; resistivity of the minerals to decomposition and analysis, the expected concentration of the elements of interest, and any requirement to know the concentration of other elements that may be considered deleterious.


Frequently asked questions

Related resources

Base metal analysis

Base metal analysis

Base metal analysis methods include aqua regia digestion, four acid digestion, fusion decomposition, and targeted mineral leaches.

Fusion Decomposition

Trace level lithium analysis

Lithium pegmatite analysis requires a fusion to break down all minerals that potentially host mineralisation.