I. Why a mining laboratory?

The main characteristic of the mining sector is its capital intensity and high risk. This is why optimization, cost control, innovation and resilience have always been the pillars of mining development strategies. It is also why the demand for sophisticated, rapid, customized and error-free analysis has become indispensable in the life of a mine.

The function of the mining laboratory is fundamental. In fact, the Mine/Analytical Laboratory partnership starts from the first phase of exploration for services in chemical and mineralogical analysis for the estimation of reserves, as well as for the optimization studies of the ore treatment process up to the rehabilitation of the mining sites after the mine closure. To meet the varied requirements of the mining industry, the service laboratory must be able to provide rapid and reliable results by handling a variety of complex analytical instruments.

A service laboratory specializes primarily in the analysis of rock and mineral resource samples over the life of a mine. However, environmental requirements have also led laboratories to develop services for monitoring the environmental status of mining sites, mainly air, water and soil monitoring.

laboratoire minier mineralogic - mining laboratory

II. Types of mining laboratories

There are mainly 3 types of mining laboratories.

1. Fixed Laboratories

Fixed laboratories are the most popular. This type is equipped with various analytical instruments grouped in four units. First, the sample reception and mechanical preparation unit. This unit, of great importance, ensures the good preparation of the samples so that they are representative and not contaminated for the analytical measurements. The second unit is dedicated to the physical and geotechnical characterization of rocks (grain size, plasticity index, Proctor…). The third unit is in charge of the chemical characterization using a variety of analytical instruments (Atomic absorption, XRF, C/S…). The last block is the mineralogical characterization using mainly X-ray diffraction, optical and electron microscopy, automated mineralogy, and microanalysis by electron microprobe and laser ablation.
laboratoire minier mineralogic - mining laboratory

2. Installations mobiles

This type of laboratory is in the form of small mechanical sample preparation units and simple analysis units that do not require large measuring devices. This type is suitable for remote areas where recruitment of qualified personnel is difficult or where climatic conditions are severe. This allows the mine to reduce the cost of analysis and to concentrate its resources and capital on its core business.

3. Specialized on-site automated laboratory systems

This type of on-site laboratory is a new and innovative solution for sites located in remote areas with difficult access. This solution offers advantages in terms of efficiency, consistency and security. However, the cost of the analysis is high and this type of solution is not easily adapted to small and medium size projects.