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By A. Strasheim

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Extra resources for Analytical Chemistry in the Exploration, Mining and Processing of Materials. Plenary Lectures Presented at the International Symposium on Analytical Chemistry in the Exploration, Mining and Processing of Materials, Johannesburg, RSA, 23–27 August 1976

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Gravimetry and titrimetry Historically, methods in this retaining a pre-eminence for times, often been supplanted proaches, gravimetry is much category have been of great importance. While standardizing solutions they have, in modern by instrumental techniques. Of the two ap­ more widely employed. A large number of precipitants have been proposed for the individual metals. Some produce a direct weighing form, thus obviating the need for reducing the precipitate to the metal. In spite of the substantial number of gravimetric reagents which have been proposed over the past 2 decades, few have gained wide spread acceptance over, for example, dimethylglyoxine for Pd, hydroquinone for Au and thionalide for Os and Ru.

Wall rock aureoles may vary greatly in extent from a few metres or less up to several hundred metres or more, depending on local conditions. Traces of the ore metals and associated (pathfinder) elements may also be dispersed into the channel ways, followed by the mineralizing solutions. The resulting geochemical haloes or 'leakage' anomalies may then be detected by sampling the overlying rocks and pre-mineralization fracture systems. So far, rock surveys have not been used to the same extent as soil or stream sediment surveys, mainly on account of the relative difficulty in obtaining representative samples, the variable distribution and area of outcrops and the need to collect relatively large samples which have to be finely ground prior to analysis.

Neutron activation analysis is, at present, uniquely suited to the deter­ mination of submicrogram concentrations of the noble metals. Much work is essential in perfecting analytical schemes which can accomplish this pur­ pose. The present author believes that this area of research must be pur­ sued with vigour. However, in the present author's opinion electrothermal atomizers used in conjunction with atomic absorption and perhaps atomic fluorescence spectroscopy may be competetive in this field.

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