Zinc Exploration – Identifying the Primary Ore

Sphalerite is the primary ore in zinc exploration. Secondary minerals associated with zinc include willemite, smithsonite and hemimorphite. Zinc is an important non-ferrous metal used in galvanizing steel to protect it from rust. Zinc is also used in cosmetics, plastics, rubber, soap, paint, fertilizer and batteries.

Field identification and mineral mapping during zinc exploration can be done using the oreXpress, oeXplorer or oreXpert high  resolution/high sensitivity NIR field spectrometers. These spectrometers cover the UV/VIS/NIR spectral range from 350-2500nm. They are portable and lightweight with an all solid state photodiode array design with no movable optical parts for reliable rugged field use.

Take spectral measurements in the field with a contact probe for fast and accurate mineral mapping. Two lithium-ion batteries provide portable scanning power for the unit and the contact probe with its built-in light source. There are two contact probe options: our standard 10 mm mineral contact probe and the 3mm Miniprobe for focusing on smaller sample features.

Optional EZ-ID mineral identification software matches to known samples from three libraries of 2600 spectra and more than 1100 minerals. Geologists can use EZ-ID’s match regions and score tables to unmix minerals within samples for better identification of dominant minerals.

EZ-ID has twelve known sample spectra for sphalerite. The spectra all show broad absorption features between 400 and 600nm, 600 to 800nm, 1200to 1800nm and 2000 to 2500nm. The EZ-ID libraries also include three spectra for smithsonite.

In addition to matching to known samples, EZ-ID allows a geologist to build their own libraries while scanning known samples and include all metadata relevant to those samples such as location, operator, sample type, color, and other descriptive details. The result is a project/site specific library of known samples.

Identifying sphalerite with EZ-ID mienral identification software

EZ-ID mineral identification software matches your samples against three libraries of more than 2600 mineral spectra. Here you see a library sample of sphalerite.

Identifying smithsonite with EZ-ID mineral identification software

EZ-ID’s libraries also include a sample of the secondary mineral associated with zinc, smithsonite.