Unlocking big opportunities in small packages: Application of novel nano-scale studies toenhancing mineral exploration and mining efficiency

Recent advancements in TEM sample preparation techniques using the latest generation of dual focused ion and electron beam (FIB-SEM) instrumentation allows for high-resolution examination of textures, elemental composition and structures of minerals at unprecedented resolution. These instruments enable the extraction of FIB-prepared TEM foils at any desired location of the sample (Wirth, 2004, 2009). In recent years, it has been demonstrated that HRTEM based characterization of FIB foils from geological and mineralogical samples is a powerful tool in geosciences for in situ structural and chemical analyses of minerals (e.g., Schumann et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2007; Lee, 2010). These techniques, however, have been rarely applied to mineral associations from ore deposits (Ciobanu et al., 2011). The in situ advantages brought by the FIB-SEM techniques in TEM sample preparation at any location of interest and the resolving power of subsequent high-resolution TEM analyses give new perspectives for the understanding of oreforming processes. Fibics Incorporated, with whom we will partner on the proposed research, is Canada’s leader in these state of the art FIB-SEM technologies and we plan to work with them on this and similar mineral exploration and mining projects at Canadian and international ore deposits.

Dirk Schumann
Superviseur universitaire: 
Dr. Neil Banerjee
Project Year: