SEM image analysis in the determination of modal assays, mineral associations and mineral liberation

P. R. Miller, M. A. Zuiderwyk, A. F. Reid

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Recovery of minerals from ores depends on the distribution and association of the various minerals in the ore and in the particles that result from its comminution, and especially on the degree to which the individual minerals have been liberated. The QEM*SEM image analyzer was developed to quantify these various properties. Based on a scanning electron microscope, the analyzer uses the signals obtained from an energy-dispersive x-ray detector and from a back-scattered electron detector to map the particular mineral present at each of a series of points covering the sample, to give volume fractions and intercept length distributions for each mineral, and the contact surface area of each mineral with each of the others. From this last can be derived normalized association probabilities, which define randomness or specificity of mineral associations. Values can also be formed of cumulative liberation yield (CLY), which expresses the amount of a given mineral carried in all particles having a volume fraction in excess of a given value. Examples are presented of the data sets obtained by QEM*SEM image and stereological analysis, and of the application of CLY curves in delineating flotation circuit behavior in copper-lead-zinc circuits.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1983
Externally publishedYes

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