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Sample Weight: 30 g


Gold, Palladium and Platinum are determined in geological materials by lead fusion and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) after collection by fire assay. The sample is mixed with fluxing agents to assist with melting and promote separation from waste (gangue) materials from the precious metals. After cooling, the gangue is separated and discarded as a glassy slag from the precious metal containing lead button. This button is further heated on an absorbing magnesium oxide crucible to remove the lead and trace amounts of base metals. A small silver prill is left containing the precious metals. The silver prill is digested in aqua regia then analyzed by ICP-OES and ICP-MS.

Method 14 Elements and Reporting Limits
Element Concentration (low) Concentration (high)
Au, Gold 5 ppb 10,000 ppb
Pd, Palladium 5 ppb 10,000 ppb
Pt, Platinum 5 ppb 10,000 ppb

Analytical Performance

Data will be deemed acceptable if recovery of each element is ±20% at five times the Lower Limit of Determination (LOD) and the calculated percent Relative Standard Deviation (RSD) of duplicate samples is no greater than 20%.

Project Contact

Jaime Azain
Phone: 303-236-9376
Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center

Mineral Resources Program Science Priority

The use of firm, trade, and brand names is for identification purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. government.

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