Sample Preparation

All samples received are carefully assessed and processed through our Sample Preparation Department. AGAT Laboratories recognizes that the quality of all analysis is dependent on the quality of sample preparation. Through intense quality control, our Sample Preparation Department takes pride in selecting the most homogeneous sub-sample for analysis. We tailor sample preparation for your specific project requirements. Depending on the type and size of the sample, common preparation procedures may include drying, crushing, pulverizing or screening of the samples.

Our experts are available to help you select the best sample preparation procedures based on sample type, mineralogy and overall program requirements. We specialize in the following sample preparation services:

  • Mineral Sample Preparation (drying, crushing, splitting, pulverizing and screening)
  • Core Handling and Cutting
  • Particle Size Distribution
  • Sample Storage and Management

Mineral Sample Preparation

During mineral sample preparation, geological material is broken-down into a fine, dry pulp that can be sub-sampled to provide a representative sample of the original rock. Sample preparation is key in ensuring that the target elements are effectively released from the rock for decomposition and further analysis. Quality protocols are followed at AGAT Laboratories during all stages of sample preparation including proper handling, safety and sample tracking. 

We utilize a specialized Bar-coding Tracking System that allows each sample to be given a unique identification number as they are scanned into the laboratory. This allows samples to be tracked throughout all stages of analysis and enables us to easily monitor progress.

  • Drying of mineral samples is variant on the type of sample type due to mass, moisture and matrix. It is important that all the moisture content of samples are removed to ensure that particles do not adhere to the preparation equipment.
  • Crushing of samples is required when particle sizes are too large for pulverizing equipment. This volume reducing process is normally applied to large sample types such as rocks and core.
  • Splitting is a cost-effective method of reducing sample volume and splits the sample into representative sub-samples. To ensure a proper representative sample is obtained, careful consideration is taken when choosing the size of the splitter and its contact with the sample in order to split the rock without bias.
  • Pulverizing of samples creates a fine homogeneous powder which allows for a representative sub-sample to be taken for analysis. Low chrome steel bowls are utilized, as any trace contaminants from the equipment would be negligible when compared to the content in the sample. For special projects, AGAT Laboratories can also select specialized bowl materials to avoid contamination minerals when targeting certain elements.
  • Screening is performed on samples to determine the mass distribution of various size fractions. Mesh sizes can be customized for multiple screening processes.

Core Handling and Cutting

AGAT Laboratories is experienced in handling core and our state-of-the-art automated core saws enable us to process core with extreme precision while maintaining optimum safety and productivity. Our capabilities include core slabbing, boxing, splitting and secure storage for archiving core samples. Key geological, mineral and geotechnical data can be determined through core analysis and description. 

Core slabbing splits the samples into representative samples that can be used as references for analysis. Through our Advanced Exploration Services, we also offer high resolution core photography and proprietary software for viewing core as a  continuous down-hole image and strip-log. These are used for depth-correcting and marking key geological markers directly on the images.

Particle Size Distribution

Determining the particle size distribution of geological material can be utilized in determining the effectiveness of grinding processes on rock samples. AGAT Laboratories can use either laser diffraction or the mechanical sieve shaker method.

  • Laser Diffraction: The degree to which light is scattered from the sample relates to the particle size distribution. A continuous scale can be obtained from sub-micron size to millimetre size.
  • The Mechanical Sieve Shaker Method: passes the sample through a series of screens with different aperture, progressively becoming smaller at the bottom layers. The samples are weighed at each level and a particle size distribution can be determined.

Sample Storage and Management

AGAT Laboratories offers both long and short term storage options for core, pulps and bulk residues. Our sample storage facilities are secure and have a specialized Bar-code Tracking System in place so that our technicians can quickly locate any samples in a matter of seconds. Storage can be coordinated with our Client Project Managers, and samples can be easily prepared for further analysis and returned or properly disposed of with client approval.

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