Quantitative Mineralogy (QEMSCAN®)

SRC uses a variety of analytical techniques for mineral exploration, but its experts have observed a growing adoption of automated mineralogical analysis by QEMSCAN® for the mining industry.

SRC's Advanced Microanalysis CentreTM and Geoanalytical Laboratories has expertise in preparing and analyzing clay-altered samples, radioactive materials, uranium, kimberlite, potash, and base metal sulphide ores by QEMSCAN. SRC is also the only CNSC-licenced facility for thin section preparation in Canada. 

We have developed specialized techniques that combine QEMSCAN® imaging with other technologies (e.g., XRT, laser, NIR) to offer non-destructive characterization of ores to help determine an ore's amenability to sensor technologies.


QEMSCAN® is used in mineral processing to assess the key characteristics of targeted minerals in order to design more efficient recovery processes. In mineral exploration, QEMSCAN can be used to provide a quantitative modal analysis and virtual petrography on thin sections and core for target prioritization.

In oil and gas exploration, QEMSCAN® analysis can be used to quantify and characterize the porosity of fine-grained reservoir rocks as part of the virtual petrography and modal mineralogical analysis.

Automated analysis by QEMSCAN® can increase reproducibility in data quality and reduce operator bias. Early adoption of QEMSCAN analysis in an exploration program can provide the geometallurgical framework for determining the mineralogy and the confidence in preferable ore characteristics for mineral processing and potential extraction methods.


  • Sample preparation
    • 30-mm diameter (metallurgical) block mount preparation
    • Pseudo-core preparation (for very coarse-grained samples)
  • Analytical
    • Mineral database localization
    • Proprietary mineral database development
    • Rapid modal mineral abundance
    • Quantitative modal mineralogy
    • Elemental deportment
    • Grain size distribution
    • Target mineral liberation and associations 
    • Grade recovery prediction 
    • Digital petrography of thin sections and core - detailed descriptions of minerals, crystal habit, rock textures and fabrics, as well as diagenetic/paragenetic sequences and rock classification
    • Quantitative mineral chemical composition by electron microprobe analysis
    • Data compilation and report preparation
    • Sensor-based sorting

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) Analysis

SRC’s Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ uses state-of-the-art equipment to perform high magnification imaging for clients in the exploration and mining industries. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) creates high magnification images. This technology is widely used as an important tool for imaging material surfaces, as well as for identifying chemical signatures.

Key Features:

  • Common minerals and alloys rapidly identified by their unique chemical composition using EDS (electron dispersive spectrometer), without the need for special coatings or preparation 
  • Capable of using secondary electrons and back-scattered electrons for imaging