Heavy Mineral Sand Analysis for Industrial Process Control

posted Oct 22, 2012, 10:00 AM by Jonny Arkin


Heavy mineral sands are a class of ore deposits that are an important source of titanium, zirconium, thorium and rare earth elements. This application note describes the use of XRD, together with the Rietveld method and cluster analysis, for phase identification and quantification of heavy mineral sands.

Phase Identification and Quantification

Phase Identification

Figure 4 shows the phase identification results for one of the heavy mineral concentrate samples. Ten phases were identified including ilmenite, rutile, zircon and hematite, along with smaller amounts of anatase, quartz, actinolite, epidote, diopside and almandine. Phase identification was conducted using PANalytical’s HighScorePlus software. To identify the phases present the software employs a powerful search-match algorithm and compares measured data to reference database PDF4+ of the ICDD.

Batch programs within the software are available to enable automation of phase identification for industrial environments, delivering results at the push of a button.

Figure 4. Measurement and phase identification for a heavy mineral concentrate sample (Z = zircon, I = iIlmenite, R = rutile, Q = quartz, Ac = actinolite, Al = almandine, Ana = anatase, Di = diopsite, He = hematite, E = epidote)

Phase Quantification

Rietveld Analysis

Quantitative analysis is possible by various classical methods such as straight line or polynomial calibration with standards. Reliable results can be obtained using the full pattern refinement introduced by H. Rietveld in 1969.

The Rietveld method is a modern, highly effective quantification technique. It delivers impressive precision, allows a rapid analysis speed and, importantly, does not require standards or monitors. In addition, the Rietveld method takes into account preferred orientation, lattice parameters, possible solid solutions, crystallite sizes and amorphous contents. The RProfile provides an indication of the mathematical quality of the fit.

Figure 5 shows the results of a Rietveld refinement of a heavy mineral concentrate. The zoomed area - Figure 6 – highlights the fit between measured and calculated profile.

Figure 5. Rietveld refinement for a heavy mineral concentrate sample (red dots = measurement, blue = calculation, below = difference plot), RProfile = 3.6

Figure 6. An area of the Rietveld simulation overlaid with measured data

Experimental Setup

Sample Preparation

The grain size of the heavy mineral sands is far too large for direct analysis. Samples were therefore ground in a disk mill with a tungsten carbide (WC) vessel and were pressed into steel ring sample holders. The steel rings are compatible with semi-automatic sample preparation equipment with a piston diameter of 35 mm.

Instrument Setup

The measurements were made using a PANalytical CubiX3 Minerals diffractometer, equipped with the X’Celerator detector and a cobalt tube with incident iron filter. This type of radiation is especially suited to iron containing materials, as it produces high resolution data without interference from the sample fluorescence. A measurement time of 5 minutes was chosen to obtain sufficient peak intensities. For good peak to background ratios, a beta filter (Fe) was placed into the incident beam path.

Figure 1. The CubiX3 Minerals diffractometer is equipped with computer controlled slit optics, a variable speed spinner stage and the X’Celerator detector, which produces high resolution data up to 100 times faster than with traditional instrumentation.

Figure 2. Schematic diagram of the diffractometer configuration

Figure 3. Comparison using the beta filter in the incident or diffracted beam

Reproducibility and Precision

To evaluate the reproducibility of the sample preparation method, a sample was prepared and measured 27 times. Analysis precision was also tested by repeating the measurement of one sample 37 times.

The results are illustrated in Table 1. Figure 7 shows the width of distribution (standard deviation or sigma). Two thirds of the results in the plots are within ± sigma, 95% are within ± two sigma and all results are within three sigma.

Table 1. Quantitative results using the Rietveld method for the precision and reproducibility

Reproduciblity of the sample preparation (27 preparations for 1 sample)
Stand. dev.
Reproduciblity of the method (1 preparation measured 37 times)
Stand. dev.

Figure 7. Standard deviations for rutile and zircon for the precision of the method (levels of confidence: solid = mean, dashes = 1 sigma, dotted = 2 sigma, dashes-dotted = 3 sigma)

Cluster Analysis

A third type of analysis – clustering or cluster analysis - was conducted on the XRD data collected from the heavy mineral sands. Modern XRD equipment allows rapid collection of hundreds of scans. For exploration and process control applications it would

Two different cluster analyses were performed. In a first test the 64 scans from the reproducibility measurements were analysed. The principal component analysis PCA score plot (Figure 8a) clearly shows two different clusters and one outlier. The scans of

The different clusters show different distributions in the PCA plot. While the measurements for the precision test are concentrated in a small area, the scans for the different preparations are widely spread in the PCA plot, indicating a higher standard d

Cluster analysis can be performed prior to subsequent investigations, such as phase identification and quantification. The most representative scans, and scans that differ the most, can be used as starting points for more detailed examination.

For the purposes of this study, a second test was carried out on several scans from samples taken from different steps during processing (screening). Four different groups and one outlier were calculated (Figure 8b). The clusters corresponded with a highe

Figure 8 a,b. PCA score plots for the two different experiments (reproducibility measurements, samples from the different process steps)


Modern XRD can provide valuable information for mining and process control in the heavy minerals industry through standardless quantification and fast, statistical evaluation of large datasets through cluster analysis. Today’s optics, detectors, and softw

The Rietveld method has many attributes that lend themselves to process control applications. It is suitable for use with homogeneous and heterogeneous samples, and works with powdered materials. It is relatively fast, cost-effective and able to distingui

The use of cluster analysis to evaluate XRD data allows fast and reliable tracking of the process. It is highly cost-effective as data evaluation is automatic and does not require dedicated personnel. It is ideal for supporting process and grade control a

The data shown here demonstrate that the CubiX3 Minerals system, together with the appropriate software modules, is ideal for the quantitative analysis of heavy mineral sands by XRD. The fast X’Celerator detector was highly valuable for delivering very sh

About PANalytical

PANalytical is the world’s leading supplier of analytical instrumentation and software for X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), with more than half a century of experience. The materials characterization equipment is used for scientific research and development, for industrial process control applications and for semiconductor metrology.

PANalytical, formerly Philips Analytical, employs around 950 people worldwide. Its headquarters are in Almelo, the Netherlands. Fully equipped application laboratories are established in Japan, the USA, and the Netherlands. PANalytical’s research activities are based in Almelo (NL) and on the campus of the University of Sussex in Brighton (UK). Supply and competence centers are located in Almelo and Eindhoven (NL). A sales and service network in more than 60 countries ensures unrivalled levels of customer support.

The company is certified in accordance with ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001.

The product portfolio includes a broad range of XRD and XRF systems and software widely used for the analysis and materials characterization of products such as cement, metals and steel, plastics, polymers and petrochemicals, industrial minerals, glass, catalysts, semiconductors, thin films and advanced materials, pharmaceutical solids, recycled materials and environmental samples.

Source: PANalytical.

For more information on this source, please visit PANalytical.

DuPont Could Sell Coatings Division to Carlyle Group in $4.5 Billion Deal

posted Aug 18, 2012, 6:06 PM by Jonny Arkin

The Carlyle Group has emerged as the frontrunner in the buyout of DuPont's ( DD ) Automotive and Industrial Coatings division. It recently upped its bid to over $4.5 billion, with rival bidder Apollo Global Management LLC declining to match the offer.

We estimate that the Automotive and Industrial Coatings division makes up around 5% of DuPont's total value, based on the cash flows it can potentially generate. The division is one of the world's leading automotive coatings suppliers. It manufactures high performance liquid and powder coatings for motor vehicle component manufacturers, the motor vehicle aftermarket, and general industrial applications such as pipes andinsulation.

The Automotive and Industrial Coatings division has several large customers in the motor vehicle equipment manufacturer supply chain, many of whom have long-standing relationships with the company. DuPont also has a major research facility and a number of manufacturing facilities dedicated to coatings. Further value is added through synergies from backward integration, as DuPont is a manufacturer of Titanium Oxide, a raw material in the production of coatings.

As of 2011, the division generated over 75% of its revenues from outside the US. The division has shown a robust recovery since 2009, mainly due to the large increase in demand for industrial coatings.

We estimate that the global market for industrial coatings will grow to a size of around $110 billion by 2019, with the division's market share growing to around 5.3% by then (it is currently 4.6%). In 2011, the division reported an EBITDA margin of 6.5%, which is relatively low compared to divisions such as Performance and Safety Materials (19.2%) and Agriculture and Nutrition Based Products (15.3%). This reflects high operating costs, which is partly due to raw material price increases. Margins are expected to improve marginally to 7.3% over the forecast period as a result of volume increases and the resulting economies of scale. Based on these growth estimates, we estimate the value of the division to be around $2.8 billion.

Carlyle Group Looks to Unlock Hidden Value

Our $2.8 billion dollar valuation of the division is considerably lower than the $4.5 billion which Carlyle group is apparently paying for it. This could be due to a number of reasons. The group may have more optimistic growth estimates for the market size, the division's market share, and the potential increase in margins. For example, if the firm believes that the market for automotive coatings will grow at a higher rate, to say around $130 billion by 2019, and that the division has the potential to increase margins to around 8% and market share to 7% by then, a $4.5 billion valuation is appropriate. However, the firm will believe that they can unlock hidden value worth more than the estimated $4.5 billion. They could potentially achieve this by hiring superior talent for management, funding an expansion through low cost debt, or by leveraging any past acquisitions to create synergies which either lead to higher revenues or lower costs.

DuPont Would be Happy to Sell

From DuPont's perspective, $4.5 billion for this division is definitely more than they were expecting. They would be ready to spin off this division, take the cash, and invest it in the rapidly growing agricultural or nutritional products divisions, or in the industrial biosciences division, which is still at a relatively early stage and will require large capital expenditures to realize its potential.

Read more:

Eriez(R) Introduces Next Generation X-ray Technology

posted Jul 19, 2012, 1:38 PM by Jonny Arkin


July 2, 2012, 11:14 a.m. EDT

ERIE, Pa., Jul 2, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Eriez(R), world authority in advanced technology for magnetic, vibratory and inspection applications, announces the global release of the company's line-up of next generation X-Ray technology.

Ray Spurgeon, Eriez' Product Manager-X-Ray Inspections Systems, says, "All of these systems have been improved and offer a number of advantages over traditional models." New models in this line include: E-Z Tec(R)XR-Bulk for bulk flow applications, E-Z Tec(R)XR-Pack for packaging lines, E-Z Tec(R)XR-SS (side shoot) for upright packages and containers and E-Z Tec(R)XR-Clean for meat, poultry and sanitary applications.

Spurgeon explains, "Eriez' next generation X-Ray technology offers mixed product and multi-lane inspection and provides improved foreign object detection, count, seal and weight inspection. Other features include tool-less disassembly for cleaning, unique beam geometry, compact 60-inch overall length, low profile design and auto learn for easy set up."

According to Eriez, the company will offer quick quotes for all of its standard next generation X-Ray equipment.

To sign up for Online testing, participate in a Webinar or obtain additional information, visit .

Eriez is recognized as world authority in advanced technology for magnetic, vibratory and inspection applications. The company's magnetic lift and separation, metal detection, x-ray, materials feeding, screening, conveying and controlling equipment have application in the process, metalworking, packaging, recycling, mining, aggregate and textile industries. Eriez manufactures and markets these products through 12 international facilities located on six continents. For more information, call toll-free (888) 300-ERIEZ (3743) within the U.S. and Canada. For online users, visit or send email to Eriez World Headquarters is located at 2200 Asbury Road, Erie, PA 16506.

Ed Stevens, Stevens Strategic Communications

Keith Jones, Eriez

This information was brought to you by Cision ,c9280063

The following pictures are available for download:

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,


Another Neuenhauser Star Screen For S J B Recycling

posted Jun 13, 2012, 2:08 PM by Jonny Arkin

North Yorkshire based company Yorwaste have taken delivery of their 4th Neuenhauser Star Screen for their newly acquired company S J B Recycling

The company who recently acquired Wakefield based company S J B Recycling have put the machine straight to work screening green waste and shredded wood at Yorkshire Water's Esholt sewage treatment works.

This particular model is the 3 fraction tracked version and is fitted with the very popular 300mm diameter star for producing down to 0-25mm and up to 0-60mm. This machine has the added advantage of having 3 on-board stockpiling conveyors so three different sizes of products can be produced or the undersize can be blended to produce two fractions. The 3 fraction version also gives quite a significant throughput increase from 25 - 40%

S J B took delivery of their first Neuenhauser Star Screen back in 2004 and since then have found it to be the only machine they would use for all their screening requirements.

Article can be found here:

1-4 of 4