Traditional lithium exploration focuses on hard rock exploration for spodumene, petalite, and lepidolite. An alternative to hard rock exploration is to mine lithium brine deposits. Lithium brines are usually located in salars (i.e. underground reservoirs or salt flats). Salar brines contain dissolved salts such as lithium, potassium, and sodium. It is estimated that 66% of global lithium reserves are found in salars. (Reference: http://www.visualcapitalist.com/a-cost-comparison-lithium-brine-vs-hard-rock-exploration/)A key to a salar’s economic viability is the lithium concentration in the brine. Lithium concentrations between 50 and 75 ppm seem to be the minimum for the brine to be viable. Until now lithium analysis required several weeks delay awaiting off-site laboratory testing. If more testing is required – very typical of an exploration project – further delays ensue.Lithium concentrations in brines can now be measured on-site, in seconds. SciAps has updated the Z-300 handheld LIBS analyzer to now analyze lithium content in brines as well as geological samples. The Z can be equipped with a dedicated App with a lithium brines calibration. The App also reports sodium, magnesium, boron and potassium in the brines. Other elements may be added at any time by the user. The App includes a simple liquids attachment to present the brine solution to the Z-300 (or Z-200). We’ve delivered numerous X-300 handheld LIBS analyzers into the lithium mining industry for hard rock exploration, the addition of brines analysis further expands the use of HH LIBS technology in the exploration field.The Z-300 provides instant analysis to determine if a brine solution is economically viable for lithium extraction. The analysis time is less than 30 seconds, and the lithium detection limit is in the range of 5 ppm. For longer tests the limit of detection can be reduced. Although the Z’s test time is 3 seconds, for brine solutions, the recommended practice is to take several tests which the on-board software averages. There is a brief lag time between tests required for liquid samples to settle.Shown in the figure are several spectra for various brine solutions (about 5% sodium) spiked with lithium-chloride. Even the 10ppm lithium sample shows an easily measurable peak.The availability of on-site lithium brines analysis is an important development for lithium exploration. Mining companies can now pull multiple samples of the brine reservoir to get a through mapping of lithium concentrations, and to determine economic viability of the salar with high confidence. The Z analyzes virtually every element in the periodic table, so the analyzer can also be calibrated for potassium, sodium, boron, magnesium, and other elements in the brine that may be of interest.
Michelin Earthmover has announced the next generation of rigid dump truck (RDT) tyres with the introduction of MICHELIN® X®TRA LOAD GRIP and the MICHELIN® X®TRA LOAD PROTECT. Hailed as the first-ever “3-star” 24.00R35 tyre size on the market, the new MICHELIN XTRA LOAD range will allow users to increase load capacity or accommodate faster speeds to maximise productivity.“It is a common worldwide practice to add side boards and lift gates to rigid dump trucks in order to increase payload capacity for optimal profitability. This demand puts incredible stress on the tyres,” said Jamey Fish, Director of Earthmover Marketing for Michelin North America Inc. “This new, robust Michelin tire range provides a solution so that the maximum amount of material can be loaded into these trucks while still delivering traction, damage resistance and increased tyre life.”The new MICHELIN XTRA LOAD tire is available for two surface applications experienced by RDTs. First the MICHELIN XTRA LOAD GRIP for soft, loose, muddy ground conditions — experienced in mining and quarrying operations on slopes and inclines, where the priority is high grip and traction. Due to a reinforced casing, the tyre has a 16% higher payload, or an increase of 9 t in load capacity per machine — a huge increase in productivity when multiplied by the number of cycles made daily. And with a tread comprising 30% more lug edges, increased grip improves braking, cornering and accelerating. The tyre has the ability to drive at 21 miles per hour due to the cooler internal running temperatures. The tyre also provides 8% more wear resistance, with more rubber in the contact patch and improved damage resistance with corrosion-isolating steel cables. This tyre replaces the Michelin XDT® and X® Traction offers.Second is the MICHELIN XTRA LOAD PROTECT for hard, sharp, abrasive conditions on flat, dry surfaces — where the priority is protection and damage resistance, conditions that are present in areas such as quarries and construction sites. This application is for customers who want to carry more load and increase the distances they carry every hour. The new highly protective and damage-resistant tread pattern contributes to a better load distribution across the contact patch. This tyre has interlocking blocks and improved heat dissipation that reduces the temperature in the tread area by up to 17 degrees F. This tyre replaces the Michelin X®QUARRY S and X®HAUL tyres offers.Productivity — as measured by TMPH — is a function of load and distance covered in an hour. For the new XTRA LOAD GRIP, the TMPH is increased by at least 20.3% in the A4 compound and 13.5% for the B compound, when compared against previous Michelin ranges. For the new XTRA LOAD PROTECT, the TMPH is increased by at least 14% in the A4 compound and 42% for the B compound, when compared against previous Michelin ranges. This extended load and speed capability will allow users to optimise machine cycles and increase productivity. Greater volume of tread rubber in contact with the ground contributes to better load distribution, improved wear resistance and an increase in tyre life.With the two tread compounds (A4 and B), dealers will also experience easier stock management.