Analysis of Iron Concentrates

Application Note EDXRF1480

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The measurement of iron, silicon dioxide, and sulfur in magnetite ore concentrate is demonstrated.


Ore is ground, cleaned, separated, and concentrated in preparation for smelting. Impurities such as silicon dioxide and sulfur are considered penalty elements as they can adversely affect the quality of the beneficiation, concentrating, and smelting processes, as well as the final properties of the iron or steel being produced. Rigaku NEX QC+ offers technicians a fast and simple means of monitoring elemental composition of ores and concentrates, and is a tool that can be used for quality checks throughout the entire smelting process.

NEX QC+ high-resolution EDXRF analyzerModel: NEX QC+


21 standards were used to build an empirical calibration. Empirical regression returns the highest degree of accuracy. Fewer standards can be used, a minimum of 10 standards are required to achieve the minimum number of degrees of freedom required. More standards give more degrees of freedom and a higher degree of accuracy. A summary of the calibration is shown here.

Element Concentration range
Fe 64 – 72%
SiO₂ 0.20 – 8.77%
S 0.002 – 0.074%


To demonstrate repeatability, three calibration standards were selected to show the lower and higher levels of SiO₂ and S. Each was measured in 10 repeat analyses without moving the sample between measurements to determine an average value for precision.

Standard % Fe assay value % Fe average value Std. dev % Relative dev
3 71.13 71.04 0.06 0.1
2 71.52 71.47 0.02 0.1
21 64.19 64.08 0.06 0.1

Standard % SiO₂ assay Value % SiO₂ average value Std. dev % Relative dev
3 1.18 1.17 0.02 1.7
2 0.65 0.67 0.008 1.2
21 8.77 8.69 0.10 1.1

Standard % S assay value % S average value Std. dev % Relative dev
3 0.010 0.011 0.0004 4.0
2 0.005 0.007 0.0001 2.0
21 0.074 0.079 0.0007 0.9


The performance shown here demonstrates the ability of the NEX QC+ for the measurement of metals in crude and residual oil as per ASTM D8252 and sulfur in compliance with D4294. The simple user interface and low maintenance requirements of the NEX QC+ allows operators of all skill levels to use and maintain the equipment.

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