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I was visiting a customer of mine today and he had a ThermoFisher XL3 XRF - I believe someone, possibly Steve, had posted about this technology a while ago.

I happened to have a hunk of manganese loaded quartz in the trunk of my car that we tested it on...absolutely remarkable. In a matter of seconds it will display everything in PPM. When this technology gets to be around $5K +/- I will definitely be investing (The unit that he let me try as configured cost over $30K.)

If you had a serious size lode claim this is something I would think most individuals would want to take a look at.

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One potentially interesting thing of note is that about 3 or 4 years ago I contacted a large XRF manufacturer with a proposition to expand their customer base by introducing a lower cost, reduced function handheld XRF unit aimed at the prospecting market. I thought that if they could get the price down to around what the GPX 5000 was retailing for at the time (I said around $6000) that they might find a new market in the small scale mining community. Their marketing department actually did contact me back and after some discussion it was determined that at the very minimum the entry level price point would be around $10,000 (and that was being REAL optimistic) and I was fairly certain that would be too high for all but a very few prospectors to be interested and so I never pursued it any further with them.

Of course this was before anyone ever heard of the GPZ and it's $10k price tag. Though I have to say on that subject - I've travelled across the west now since the GPZ came out and I just don't see the widespread usage and adoption that all the dealers claimed was happening so I still think its too high of a price for any prospecting tool that isn't made by CAT. And I've talked to a lot of prospectors in a lot of different areas of the country now and the major reason to not own it is pretty much universal - too expensive. Just my observation. I think it's obvious from price reductions that even ML thinks the $10k was too high now too, and XRF guns are even higher in cost, so I don't see a lot of market for them with us yet.

I also thought back then, as I still think now, that eventually even recreational level prospecting will branch out into other minerals and elements besides gold and it may be a proactive business decision to produce a unit for this potential future use - "build it and they will come so to speak", I'm being intentionally vague for altogether selfish reasons here though because they are mining projects I am pursuing myself and hey, always easier to find a seat in an empty room... :laugh:

There is another member of the forum here who owns an XRF gun and maybe he'll comment. They aren't magic bullets, and they aren't easy and quick to use over large areas like metal detectors, he was telling me the best results require powdering the ore sample since the sample area is quite small. Also, just like you get the "nugget effect" in major mines that don't do large enough sample sizes and get subsequently erroneously rich assays, the same can happen with the XRF (they aren't assays though).

Still, I think it's a great quick indicator and if I ever get the money I am going to buy one. I think with a low enough price they'd be an awesome prospecting tool. When I talk about prospecting I'm talking about it more from a business angle then recreational though.

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Uhm, you guys should realize the SXRF technology works on X-rays and as an inherent result only works on surface samples.  It does not penetrate very deeply, about 2 microns, and can not give deep survey result.  This is why a powdered/pulverized sample is required and the window for sample is very limited *about 2 millimeters* with the sample window Pressed against the sample.... 

Its very expensive at this point in time to microminiaturize such a device beyond its current limits however its a very precise machine.  Read up on it as you can.  As a prospectors device it is most prohibitive.  I think this device is a small as can be had just now. And probably in the future as well.

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I heard we have one at work in our Toolroom, BUT they will not test any rocks for me with it, no matter how many times I beg!  I heard it costs like $40,000+.

I wonder if one of them pistol type laser thermometer things would be worth owning as a prospecting tool vs checking the temp of your coffee? Do hotter parts of the ground have anything to do with potential rock types or mineral deposits I wonder?

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On 3/16/2016 at 5:02 PM, DDancer said:

Uhm, you guys should realize the SXRF technology works on X-rays and as an inherent result only works on surface samples.  It does not penetrate very deeply, about 2 microns, and can not give deep survey result.  This is why a powdered/pulverized sample is required and the window for sample is very limited *about 2 millimeters* with the sample window Pressed against the sample.... 

Its very expensive at this point in time to microminiaturize such a device beyond its current limits however its a very precise machine.  Read up on it as you can.  As a prospectors device it is most prohibitive.  I think this device is a small as can be had just now. And probably in the future as well.

It doesn't need to be any smaller and the fact that its penetration is limited doesn't negate its usefulness as a tool. For mine exploration, yes, it would be a fantastic tool to have at your disposal. Would it be practical for a weekend prospector/miner? No, for this you are correct in saying it would be prohibitive. 

 

Also, I don't believe that it is required to have the sample powdered or pulverized with current technology. The model I was able to test was here - check it out if you like.

http://www.thermoscientific.com/en/product/niton-xl3t-goldd-xrf-analyzer.html

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Website locks up. Even with that advance, and it looks agreeable you are still limited to surface scan.  Ya say you tested it? On what and with what result.

 

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