Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has announced the first use of handheld LIBS to directly measure lithium in geological samples at the Seabrook Rare Metals Venture in Western Australia. The project utilized the SciAps Z-500, a handheld LIBS device developed and manufactured by SciAps, Inc. (Woburn, MA).
Lithium Australia has now purchased a new SciAps Z300 to continue their work in the application of this exciting new technology. A complete version of the ASX release may be found here.
According to Lithium-Australia’s announcement (see above link), the pattern of lithium anomalism could be determined by direct measurements of Li using handheld LIBS. Prior to the development of handheld LIBS, handheld XRF using alkali metals as pathfinders has been the main technique in use for in field analysis of lithium bearing samples. The study performed at Seabrook demonstrated that the direct Li measurements correlated well with the use of pathfinder metals via handheld XRF.
Lithium Australia has worked for some time with SciAps to perfect the use of LIBS technology in geochemical applications. The extension of technique to the real-time control of drilling in lithium clays, is a breakthrough that should reap immediate financial benefits, by maximizing the effectiveness of our first round of drilling in Mexico.
Adrian Griffin, Managing Director
Andrew Somers, SciAps global business development director for geochemistry believes partnerships with innovative industry partners such as Lithium Australia NL are critical to the success of developing new products for the mining industry.
“Until now, the only way to get in-field data for lithium exploration and mining was to use handheld XRF for pathfinder elements and/or indices based upon these elements. This approach has primarily employed Handheld XRF, a technique that cannot measure important elements for this application like Li, Be, B and Na. Field portable LIBS presents new opportunities to complement and build upon conventional techniques such as field portable XRF” says Somers. He continued by saying that “this work is important in proving the suitability of this new technique to geochemical applications such as this and we look forward to exploring the many possibilities that the unique capabilities of LIBS and particularly hand held LIBS offers going forward”.