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Industrial minerals

Choice of analytical method?

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. For industrial minerals, the choice of analytical method will depend on several factors; resistivity of the minerals to decomposition, the expected concentration of the elements of interest and requirements with regards to concentration of other elements that may be considered deleterious. Many industrial minerals have distinct chemical and physical properties, but this can also mean that they require specific digestion and analysis procedures.

Minerais industriais

Specialised sample preparation

ALS uses low chrome steel as standard equipment for sample pulverisation. When preparing geological samples, the equipment used will impart traces of the elements from the equipment to the sample. If any of the elements of interest for your product are present in low chromium steel (eg: Cr, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, V and Co), alternative preparation equipment is available.

Alternative pulverisation bowls

Options for pulverising bowls include carbon steel, zirconium, tungsten carbide and agate. Please contact the laboratory to which you will be submitting your samples, to ensure they have the required equipment available to prepare your samples.


Phosphate ores are typically sedimentary marine phosphorites, apatite-rich igneous rocks, or guano. These variable ores can host other minerals that may be of economic importance (REEs) or deleterious (e.g., those with Si, Fe or F).

Phosphate ore analysis

ALS offers a fusion-XRF method for phosphate ore analysis, including loss on ignition. The analytes reported routinely by this method are Al2O3 , CaO, Fe2O3 , K2O, MgO, MnO2 , Na2O, P2O5 , SiO2 and TiO2 , but fluorine and several other elements can be reported if required.

Code Analytes & Ranges (%) Description
0.7g sample
Al2O3 0.01-100 K2O 0.01-10 Na2O 0.01-11 TiO2 0.01-30 Fused disc XRF.
CaO 0.01-60 MgO 0.01-50 P2O5 0.01-50 Total 0.01-110
Fe2O3 0.01-100 MnO2 SiO2 0.01-100
Loss on Ignition
1g sample
Furnace or Thermogravimetric Analyser (TGA).

Chromite & manganese

Chromite is one of the minerals that is highly resistant to acid digestion, including aggressive four-acid digestion, therefore fusion decomposition is required.

Chromite & manganese ore analysis

Method ME-XRF26s is designed for ores of chromite and manganese with less than 5% sulphides. If the sulphide content of samples is >5 %, alternative methods utilising sodium peroxide, or the addition of an oxidising agent are recommended (ME-ICP81, ME-XRF15b and ME-XRF15c).HTML

Code Ore/Product Analytes Description
ME_XRF26 Cementitious Materials Al2O3, CaO, Fe2O3, K2O, LOI, MgO, MnO, Na2O,
SiO2, SO3, TiO2 and LOI
Fusion, XRF
0.7g sample
ME_XRF26s Chromite and Manganese Ore Al2O3, BaO, CaO, Cr2o3 Fe2O3, K2O, MgO, MnO,
Na2O, P2O5, SO3, SiO2, TiO2 and LOI
Fusion, XRF
0.33g sample


Potash ore typically contains potassium chloride, sodium chloride, along with other salts, and clays. The identification of the water leachable components i.e. potassium and sodium chloride is a key part of any analysis.

Potash analysis

ALS offers a package (ME-POTPKG) designed for potash exploration to report total chemical composition of samples as well as the water-leachable proportion of analytes. ME-XRF26k is a fusion-XRF method that reports total content, where ME-ICP03k is a water-leach method that reports soluble elements. OA-GRA04k provides the percentage of residue insoluble in water using a gravimetric method.

Code Analytes & Ranges (%)
ME-XRF26k Al2O3 0.01-100 Fe2O3 0.01-100 P2O5 0.01-46
BaO 0.01-66 K2O 0.01-65 SO3 0.01-71
CaO 0.01-60 MgO 0.01-50 SiO2 0.05-100
Cl 0.01-65 MnO 0.01-39 SrO 0.01-1.5
Cr2O3 0.01-10 Na2O 0.01-55 TiO2 0.01-30
OA-GRA05x LOI 0.01-100
ME-XRF26k Ca 0.01 - 25 K 0.01 - 55 Na 0.01 - 42
Fe 0.01 - 50 Mg 0.01 - 25 S 0.01 - 30
OA-GRA04k Water Insoluble 0.5-100


Frequently asked questions

Related resources



ALS offers methods for the analysis and characterisation of bauxite ores.



Analysing samples for exploration and resource definition requires a variety of methods depending on the sample matrix.

Rare earth elements

Rare earth elements

Rare Earth Elements can be determined from trace levels to concentrations up to 30% in ore samples.