MINERAL IDENTIFICATION FOR FIELD EXPLORATION
Minerals in the 1300 to 2500 nm range have spectral signatures which can be detected using reflection spectroscopy and a hand-held near IR spectrometer. Silicates, sulphates and carbonates in the minerals have absorption features which can be used to distinguish metal ores from waste rock. Heterogenous materials are more difficult to detect due to the occurrence of the wavelength shift and the overlapping features. Mixed spectra happen due to the occurrence of adjacent minerals in contact with each other and the presence of water. Homogenous minerals are much easier to detect. A combination of NIRS and a recognition software can classify each particle in a mineral. A successful determination of mineral content using NIRS can bring about savings in water, energy and cost.