Copper is one of the essential base metals in modern infrastructure. It is used for construction, electronics, machinery, automobile and marine vessel etc. in the form of electric cable and copper alloys. Copper ore mined as mainly sulfide ore is usually shipped as concentrate of 20 – 40% in copper content after processing at the plant near mine site. Copper concentrate contains a variety of impurities that are either valuable elements as byproducts, or harmful to quality in copper metal products and hazardous to the environment and human health. In modern copper deposits, ore grade of copper is decreasing while impurities in ore tend to increase. Therefore, the demand for rapid and accurate determination of various metals of major and trace amounts in copper ore and concentrate is increasing. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry is the best method for the analytical requirements of routine analysis to monitor ore grade with high precision, accuracy and rapidity. This application note will show the conventional calibration method of copper ore concentrate analysis and also standardless analysis using the fundamental parameter method.
ICP-MS offers the capability to reach sub microgram per kilogram (ppb) detection limits making it an ideal tool for quantitative measurement of impurities in pure metals such as copper. The high-sensitivity PlasmaQuant® MS Elite model, achieving in excess of 1.5 million counts per second per ppb on the Indium 115 isotope, was used in the analysis of high purity copper metal samples and standard reference materials.