Practical Ore Microscopy and Mineralography

Practical Ore Microscopy and Mineralography

Areas of Study: Mineral Processing

Qualifies for CMS

Qualifies for Certification

The course is concerned particularly with information obtained from reflected light microscopy of opaque minerals and emphasizes the importance of identification, description and classification of ore textures in the context of mineral beneficiation and ore genesis. Other topics include paragenesis, exsolution, sulfide metamorphism, sulfide phase equilibria and practical problems such as liberation, modal analysis, textural case histories, and reconciling mineral proportions and assays. The course includes case studies and numerous practical examples.

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  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 25 hours

Course Summary

Introduction

Practical Ore Microscopy and Mineralography is concerned particularly with information obtained from reflected light microscopy of opaque minerals. A review of the mineralographic microscope is provided at the outset, however familiarity with both the petrographic (transmitted light) and mineralographic (reflected light) microscope is a basic premise of the course. Segments of the course that follow are each more-or-less stand-alone.

The course places considerable emphasis on the identification, description and classification of textures because of the enormous practical implications of ore textures to mineral beneficiation and ore genesis. Specific topics such as paragenesis, exsolution and sulfide metamorphism and sulfide phase equilibria will be of concern to those with specific interests. A variety of practical concepts related to ore microscopy (liberation, modal analysis, textural case histories, reconciling mineral proportions and assays) are discussed that pertain particularly to mineral beneficiation.

Finally, a series of exercises are described that relate to information obtained from ore microscopy studies. These exercises involve topics such as: sampling of particulate ore material, changing volume percent to weight percent (and vice versa), point count and grain counting, calculating mineral formula from chemical analysis, regression as a means of determining precious metal hosts in an ore, mass balance procedures involving modal (volume) percentages of minerals and assays of metals.

Course Content

Practical Ore Microscopy and Mineralography consists of 31 viewing sessions of 30 - 60 minutes each with numerous supporting figures, tables and examples, plus interactive course reviews. Viewing sessions include four case studies and eight exercises on the practical application of microscopy techniques. Course duration is equivalent to approximately 25 hours of viewing content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Discuss the principles of mineral identification and classification of ore textures in the contexts of mineral beneficiation and ore genesis.
  • Discuss exsolution, metamorphism and mineral stability in the contexts of mineral identification and classification.
  • Discuss practical concepts pertaining to mineral beneficiation, such as liberation, modal analysis, textural case histories, and reconciliation of mineral proportions and assays.
  • Apply the principles, concepts and techniques of ore microscopy and mineralogy to practical problems of mineral beneficiation and ore genesis.

Recommended Background

  • A degree in geology, metallurgy or related discipline.
  • Familiarity with the principles of both the petrographic and the mineralographic microscope.

Alastair J. Sinclair

Alastair J. Sinclair obtained his B.A.Sc. and M.A.Sc. degrees in geological engineering from the University of Toronto (1957 and 1958) and a Ph.D. in Economic Geology from the University of British Columbia (1964). From 1962 to 1964 he taught in the Dept. of Geology, University of Washington, Seattle; and from 1964 to 1998 taught at the University of British Columbia.

In addition to teaching at UBC he was Head of the Department of Geological Sciences (1985-1990) and Director of Geological Engineering (1991-1998). He is presently Professor Emeritus in geological engineering at the University of British Columbia. For many years he taught courses in Economic Geology, Mineral Inventory Estimation and Mineralography and Ore Microscopy. His research activities have focused on Mineral Exploration Data Analysis, Resource Estimation of Mineral Deposits and Quality Control Aspects of Resource Evaluation.

He has presented a wide range of short courses for mining companies and professional organizations and has consulted widely for the international mining industry; he continues to be active in these fields.