Queensland university installs automated mineralogy system

Queensland University of Technology has adopted an automated, high-speed mineralogy system to characterise multiple rock samples for academics and commercial mining companies alike.

The Tescan TIMA system uses software to automatically characterise several geological samples, using up to four energy-dispersive (EDS) detectors and a sophisticated electron microscope (field emission gun scanning electron microscope).

Queensland University of Technology research officer Henrietta Cathey said the TIMA system enhances workflow for metallurgy and geological projects.

“The most exciting aspect of the TIMA so far, for us, is the ability to massively increase the workflow for our metallurgy and geological projects,” she said.

“Staff have so far been impressed with the ease of use and the relatively short training times required given the complexity of the instrument.”

The TIMA system was  installed by AXT in Queensland, with specific training carried out by the company’s experts in Perth.

This is the sixth of such systems that exist in Australia, with Northparkes Mines in New South Wales also using the technology to automate its processes.

QUT said the idea of hosting the technology was to keep pace with increased demand from industry and government bodies to characterise geological materials.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable recently stated that mineral exploration is an essential part of Australia’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

“The MCA is proud to have led Australia’s minerals industry from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in helping to keep workers, families and local communities safe,” she said.

“This has ensured that the Australian minerals industry, including exploration has continued to operate throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic to support jobs, communities and economic recovery while contributing company tax royalties to help fund doctors, nurses, police and hospitals.”

As per the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ reports, mineral exploration expenditure rose by 11.9 per cent across the country in the June quarter.

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