Quantitative Analysis of Iron and Silicon Concentrations in Iron Ore Concentrate Using Portable X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

Shubin Zhou, Zhaoxian Yuan, Qiuming Cheng, David C. Weindorf, Zhenjie Zhang, Jie Yang, Xiaolong Zhang, Guoxiong Chen, Shuyun Xie

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14 Scopus citations


As a technique capable of rapid, nondestructive, and multi-elemental analysis, portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) has applications to mineral exploration, environmental evaluation, and archaeological analysis. However, few applications have been conducted in the smelting industry especially when analyzing the metal concentration in ore concentrate samples. This research analyzed the effectiveness of using pXRF in determining the metal concentration in Fe concentrate. For this proof of concept study, Fe ore samples dominated by Fe and Si were collected from the Northeastern University Mineral Processing Laboratory (Shenyang, China) and directly analyzed using pXRF, laboratory-based XRF, and titration methods. The compactness (density) of the ore concentrate was found to have very little effect on pXRF readings. The pXRF readings for Fe and Si were comparative to laboratory-based XRF results. Based on the strong correlations between the pXRF and XRF results (Fe: R2> 0.99, Si: R2> 0.96), linear calibrations were adopted to improve the accuracy of pXRF readings. Linear regression equations derived from the relations between XRF results and pXRF results of 21 Fe ore concentrate samples were used to calibrate the pXRF, and then validation was performed on five additional samples. Results from this preliminary study suggest that ordinary least squares (OLS) regression improves the accuracy dramatically, especially for Fe with relative errors (REs) decreasing to 0.03%–3.27% from 4.26%–8.32%. Consequently, pXRF shows strong promise for rapid, quantitative analysis of Fe concentration in Fe ore concentrate. Based on the results obtained in this study, a larger, more comprehensive study is warranted to confirm the results obtained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Spectroscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Portable X-ray fluorescence spectra
  • calibration method
  • compactness effect
  • ore concentrates
  • pXRF
  • quantitative analysis


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