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 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)|
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.
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 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.
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.
|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|
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.
Please notify the laboratory before submitting NORM samples. For high grade NORM samples, a pre-submittal gamma radiation reading, and a reduced sample size may be required.