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Mineral Separations

The GeoSep Services Mineral Separation process follows rigorous protocols to ensure the highest quality mineral separations. We do not use a disc mill, since it is our philosophy that disc mills have the increased potential to damage or destroy apatite and zircon grains.  We process ~400-500 g of <300 µm sand-sized material to obtain apatite and zircon. We can also separate biotite and titanite, and we are refining techniques for additional minerals.
We ask that all samples sent to us are broken into fist sized or smaller pieces, to allow for easier crushing.

When a sample is sent to GeoSeps, it goes through the following process:

  • Crush (if necessary)
  • Sieve
  • Wash with water to remove lighter particles (e.g. clay)
  • Separate in Lithium Metatungstate (LMT) to remove particles with a specific gravity less than 2.95
  • Remove magnetic grains with a hand magnet
  • Remove magnetic grains with a Frantz™ magnetic separator
  • Separate in Di-iodomethane (DIM, also known as Methylene Iodide, MI) to remove particles with a specific gravity less than 3.32-3.33 (obtain zircon, apatite, and "lights" fractions)
  • Note: GSS can provide pyrite (sulfide) clean-up of zircon fractions if requested (additional US$80)

Mineral Separations are returned to the client with the following separates:

  • Zircon grains (Zrn vial)
  • Apatite grains (Ap vial)
  • DIM lights (Lights vial)
  • Magnetic at 1.0 amps, side tilt at 2 degrees (Mag 3 vial)
  • Magnetic at 1.0 amps, side tilt at 10 degrees (Mag 2 vial)
  • Magnetic at 0.5 amps, side tilt at 10 degrees (Mag 1 vial)
  • Magnetic with a hand magnet (H mag vial)

Material lighter than LMT and material left over from sieving can be returned to the client for the cost of shipping and handling, if requested.