Development of an online partial extraction method for geochemical exploration
LE3 .A278 2014
Bachelor of Science
An online partial extraction method was developed and applied to soil samples collected from the Walton Tennycape Mn mine which contains a mineral deposit of Cu, Zn, and Pb. Soil samples were collected from the B-horizon along a 750 m traverse in the direction of NNW-SSE near the Mn mine. Online partial extractions were conducted using DI water, 0.001 M NaCl, and 0.001 M CaCl2 with detection by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The results were compared to those obtained by traditional batch partial extractions. Extractions with DI water and NaCl demonstrated similar results. Exponential rise behaviour was observed for pH < 5 and peak maximum behaviour was observed for pH > 5. Between pH 5 and 6, transitional behaviour was observed which was characterized by exponential rise behaviour for Fe and peak maximum behaviour for Zn and Pb. Two types of behaviour were observed during the CaCl2 extractions: exponential rise behaviour for pH < 5 and decreasing concentration behaviour for Zn and Pb for pH > 5. Batch partial extractions were more reproducible than the online partial extractions; however, online partial extractions were found to have the advantage of higher geochemical contrast. The results indicate that DI water was the best reagent for online partial extractions as it does not suffer from polyatomic interferences and the buildup of salt inherent with the use of NaCl and CaCl2 and it avoids problems related to flocculation that were observed with CaCl2. It was not possible to evaluate the effectiveness of the extracting agents due to the presence of high levels of calcite near the zone of mineralization.
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