First ever quantitative field measurements of lithium in soils using handheld LIBS

SciAps reports that “for the first time ever a handheld device was used for instant, on-site lithium in soil measurements as part of a lithium exploration project.” The pioneering effort was made by Lithium-Australia NL at the Seabrook Rare Metals Venture in Western Australia. The analysis was performed using a SciAps Z-300 handheld LIBS analyzer.

LIBS – laser induced breakdown spectroscopy – is an elemental analysis technique long established in the laboratory, and only recently migrated to a handheld platform by SciAps. LIBS is very much a complementary technique to handheld XRF. SciAps also manufacturers a leading handheld XRF.

Lithium Australia (LIT) says it has accumulated significant experience in geochemical modelling of prospective lithium terrains and in particular the soils derived from pegmatites containing lithium micas. The Seabrook Rare Metals Venture (LIT 80%, and Tungsten Mining 20%) consists of six exploration licences, located on the shores of Lake Seabrook, some 60 km northeast of Southern Cross and 10 km southeast of Koolyanobbing, Western Australia.

Hand-held LIBS was used to compare real-time lithium spectral data, with various geochemical signatures generated with field portable XRF equipment. “The results show conclusively that pattern of lithium anomalism determined by hand-held LIBS reflects the areal extent, and shape to field-portable XRF alkali metal anomalism which in this area is a good pathfinder for lithium.

“The success of the LIBS lithium geochemical modelling has led to more extensive evaluation for immediate use on the Electra project (LIT 25% and Alix Resources Corp 75%). A SciAps Z300 machine has been calibrated using a wide grade range of lithium clays generated from recent sampling. Real-time data will be used to maximize the benefit of drilling, scheduled to commence in the near future.”