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Uranium analysis

The industrialisation and modernisation of many countries coupled with a desire for cleaner, more sustainable energy sources is driving global exploration activity for uranium. ALS provides analysis for uranium and other pathfinder elements in rock, soil, sediment, and water. For each of these specialised procedures, certified uranium reference materials are inserted during analysis to ensure the accuracy of the determinations.


Non-resistate minerals & soils

Non-resistate mineralisation, particularly soils and sediment samples containing non-resistate and soluble mineral forms, are effectively solubilised using an oxidising acid digestion such as aqua regia. This digestion procedure, in combination with a sensitive analytical method such as ICP-MS, can be used to provide trace detection of uranium and a suite of associated elements that can be used to characterise and locate uranium deposits.


ALS offers an exploration package targeted at unconformity-hosted uranium deposits where the ore is in the basin sedimentary rocks. The package includes a full 62 element suite from ME-MS41L™ including Rare Earth Elements (REEs) and lead isotope concentrations. The package also includes ultra-trace boron by fusion from method B-MS82L.

CODE Methods Analytes and Ranges (ppm)
UEXP-PKG01 ME-MS41L™ Ag 0.001-100 Co 0.001-10,000 La 0.002-10,000 Pt 0.002-25 Th 0.002-10,000
Al 0.01%-25% Cr 0.01-10,000 Li 0.1-10,000 Rb 0.005-10,000 Ti 0.001%-10%
As 0.01-10,000 Cs 0.005-500 Mg 0.01%-25% Re 0.0002-50 Tl 0.001-10,000
Au 0.0002-25 Cu 0.01-10,000 Mn 0.1-50,000 S 0.01%-10% U 0.005-10,000
B 10-10,000 Fe 0.001%-50% Mo 0.01-10,000 Sb 0.005-10,000 V 0.1-10,000
Ba 0.5-10,000 Ga 0.004-10,000 Na 0.001%-10% Sc 0.005-10,000 W 0.001-10,000
Be 0.01-1,000 Ge 0.005-500 Nb 0.002-500 Se 0.003-1,000 Y 0.003-500
Bi 0.0005-10,000 Hf 0.002-500 Ni 0.04-10,000 Sn 0.01-500 Zn 0.1-10,000
Ca 0.01%-25% Hg 0.004-10,000 P 0.001%-1% Sr 0.01-10,000 Zr 0.01-500
Cd 0.001-1,000 In 0.005-500 Pb 0.005-10,000 Ta 0.005-500
Ce 0.003-500 K 0.01%-10% Pd 0.001-25 Te 0.003-500
MS41L-REE™ Dy 0.002-1,000 Ho 0.001-1,000 Sm 0.002-1,000
Er 0.002-1,000 Lu 0.001-1,000 Tb 0.001-1,000
Eu 0.002-1,000 Nd 0.002-1,000 Tm 0.001-1,000
Gd 0.002-1,000 Pr 0.002-1,000 Yb 0.002-1,000
MS41L-PbIS™ 204Pb 0.005-10,000 206Pb 0.005-10,000 207Pb 0.005-10,000
208Pb 0.005-10,000
B-MS82L B 5-10,000

Semi-resistate mineral forms

For rock samples, the recommended analytical package for oxide and secondary oxide minerals is a four acid (HF, HNO3, HCIO4, and HCI) 'near total' digestion followed by ICP-AES or ICP-MS finish, depending on uranium concentration.

Four acid digestion method for uranium samples - ME-MS61u™

ALS offers a four acid multi-element suite, ME-MS61u™, optimised for uranium with specific CRMs for quality control. An ICP-MS finish is utilised for low level detection on a multi-element suite.

Resistate mineral forms

Resistate minerals, for example, apatite, zircon, monazite and sphene, are ideally determined using a high temperature fusion to decompose the samples. A lithium borate fusion followed by ICP-MS analysis is especially effective as it includes the largest range of elements, high temperature fusion to dissolve resistate minerals, and ICP-MS reading for low detection limits. Major elements, including potassium, are available as add-on elements.

Ore grade uranium analysis - U-XRF10 and U-XRF15b

ALS offers two ore grade uranium assay methods via lithium borate fusion with XRF finish for percent level concentration ranges. If samples contain sulphides at >4% method U-XRF15b is recommended due to the use of an oxidising flux.

Code Analyte
U-XRF10* Ore grade U assay (0.01%-15%). 2g sample
U-XRF15b Ore grade U assay (0.01%- 51%). Fusion with oxidising flux. 0.5g sample
* For samples with >4% sulphide choose method U-XRF15b

Safe handling of NORM material

ALS is qualified and experienced in handling NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) samples at locations near active uranium exploration and mining, with added lab certification in relevant jurisdictions.

Frequently asked questions


Related Topics


Water samples

Exploration for uranium resources may use water samples to vector to mineralisation.