XRF Handhelds
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Thread: XRF Handhelds

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  1. #1

    Jul 2020
    Oregon
    Minelab gs3000
    43
    97 times
    Prospecting

    XRF Handhelds

    Has anyone had any experience with these good or bad? I am thinking about renting one this spring but there are alot of options out there. Leaning towards an Olympus 5100 maybe even purchasing. Seems like it would save alot of time in prospecting. I have crushed and panned close to a ton in just 5 gallon buckets over the last year and was thinking this might be a way to stop sampling plain leveright rocks. Loads of veins.... no ore so far.
    HardRockNM and Reed Lukens like this.

  2. #2
    us
    Nov 2020
    New Mexico
    13
    30 times
    Prospecting
    They've been used a bit in the mining district near me. Personally, I'm not a fan of the things. In our experience, they are ineffective at reporting gold values while doing just fine with silver and base metals. This works fine when gold is associated with silver mineralization, but not so well when silver grades are low or trace. Additionally, they only show the grades of the surface of the sample. For best results, the sample should be prepped, crushed, and ground before taking an XRF reading. Handy for base metal prospecting (where any value is significant), but no real advantages over fire assay for serious exploration or production.

  3. #3
    us
    retired bumb and part time Hobo

    May 2005
    St. Louis, missouri
    6,344
    5294 times
    I think the cost alone would keep most of us from buying one . Twenty or so years back I read a article while up in Alaska about these and they sounded really good IF you could afford one ! The article is long gone now but this ole F.O.G. still remembers some of it !

  4. #4
    us
    Mar 2014
    Traveling US to work
    Current Equinox 600 Past Whites DFX Garret GTI 2500 and others Prospecting Minelab GPZ 7000 Past SD 2100 GP 3000 (retired)
    2,320
    1982 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    An XRF's advantage is with condensed materials and prepared samples. As stated your better off with fire assay if the material your looking for is not free milled and condensed. If your buying or trading in metals the XRF is very useful but not so much in the wild.
    Everyone Believes they have gold buried in the back yard... small wonder so few ever look for it.

  5. #5
    gb
    Apr 2020
    Manchester
    2
    2 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    As the others just said, it's not only expensive, but also not useful in your case. Not the best bang for your buck. Is there anything in particular you are looking for?
    Clay Diggins and Reed Lukens like this.

  6. #6
    us
    Blastrer

    Apr 2020
    Southern California
    137
    191 times
    Prospecting
    If you really want to try this, I would buy or build one of those chain pulverizers that use an angle grinder chassis.
    Reed Lukens and russau like this.

  7. #7

    Jul 2020
    Oregon
    Minelab gs3000
    43
    97 times
    Prospecting
    Ya it doesn't sound like the way to go but here's how it worked in my mind.... So between what I've got claimed up and my patent claim there's about 1200' of workings and another 5,000 that are inaccessible but I intend to open up. The old timers would take an assay every 5' in the drifts. I haven't done assays although I have all the equipment but from what I gather it's a fairly time consumptive process. I was hoping the xrf would be a good way to do a quick search for high grade ore. Between my claims and the ability to go out and search other old prospects I thought this would work as a fast litmus test about whether the ore was worth grinding and getting a fire assay on. From what I've read (sales brochures ya I know dubious source) the oxford x5100 can detect down to the 5-30 ppm level. One ounce per ton is 41 ppm using troy ounces. So if the LOD (limit of detection) truly is as advertised I should be able to find anything 1/2 ounce per ton and up. In theory. However I don't know how they work. Do they find just a limited range of elements? The first 40 most abundant? Or can you dial them into search for specifics? There are really good silver mines in the area as well running 100 ounce per ton. It's not an indicator of gold though as most dont carry much value in gold. So that was the plan! I am rethinking now

  8. #8
    us
    May 2014
    AZ
    Beach High Banker, Sweep Jig, Whippet Dry Washer, Lobo ST, 1/2 width 2 tray Gold Cube, numerous pans, rocker box, and home made fluid bed and stream sluices.
    2,249
    3360 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaineer2020 View Post
    Ya it doesn't sound like the way to go but here's how it worked in my mind.... So between what I've got claimed up and my patent claim there's about 1200' of workings and another 5,000 that are inaccessible but I intend to open up. The old timers would take an assay every 5' in the drifts. I haven't done assays although I have all the equipment but from what I gather it's a fairly time consumptive process. I was hoping the xrf would be a good way to do a quick search for high grade ore. Between my claims and the ability to go out and search other old prospects I thought this would work as a fast litmus test about whether the ore was worth grinding and getting a fire assay on. From what I've read (sales brochures ya I know dubious source) the oxford x5100 can detect down to the 5-30 ppm level. One ounce per ton is 41 ppm using troy ounces. So if the LOD (limit of detection) truly is as advertised I should be able to find anything 1/2 ounce per ton and up. In theory. However I don't know how they work. Do they find just a limited range of elements? The first 40 most abundant? Or can you dial them into search for specifics? There are really good silver mines in the area as well running 100 ounce per ton. It's not an indicator of gold though as most dont carry much value in gold. So that was the plan! I am rethinking now
    As to the oldtimers sampling every 5 feet. That was probably the depth of the drill holes for the upcoming shot and the sample being cuttings from those holes. That assay would be a fair representation of what to expect of the ore broken by the shot.... Bear in mind a highgraded sample assay represents only that sample. Only representative samples are helpful in assesing your claims.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by arizau; Jan 14, 2021 at 04:12 PM.
    If it can't be grown, it must be mined!

  9. #9

    Jul 2020
    Oregon
    Minelab gs3000
    43
    97 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by BlasterJ View Post
    If you really want to try this, I would buy or build one of those chain pulverizers that use an angle grinder chassis.
    Yup already got one more of a chain flail impact mill with a 3/4 horse motor. It's what I've been using to crush and pan or send in for assay or both. Usually run 1/2 to 3/4 of a bucket of representative material. On second set of chains now. It works pretty good for small sampling if only I could find the right sample! Heh. Poor rocks. That was a good article you had in the ICMJ Blaster. It's what got my interest piqued about xrf guns. I still might rent one depending on cost once I get a few more drifts open. Assays run $40/pop and I've run probably 10 so they do add up after awhile. I quit sending in for assay unless I see color in the pan being the area I've been sampling was supposed to have "free gold". Whoever came up with that term has a sick sense of humor. There's nothing free about it, hike in to untraveled country packing a heavy load, search for dig and pick your sample then pack out with 80 more lbs than you came in with. Free. Huh.
    russau and Reed Lukens like this.

  10. #10
    us
    Blastrer

    Apr 2020
    Southern California
    137
    191 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaineer2020 View Post
    Yup already got one more of a chain flail impact mill with a 3/4 horse motor. It's what I've been using to crush and pan or send in for assay or both. Usually run 1/2 to 3/4 of a bucket of representative material. On second set of chains now. It works pretty good for small sampling if only I could find the right sample! Heh. Poor rocks. That was a good article you had in the ICMJ Blaster. It's what got my interest piqued about xrf guns. I still might rent one depending on cost once I get a few more drifts open. Assays run $40/pop and I've run probably 10 so they do add up after awhile. I quit sending in for assay unless I see color in the pan being the area I've been sampling was supposed to have "free gold". Whoever came up with that term has a sick sense of humor. There's nothing free about it, hike in to untraveled country packing a heavy load, search for dig and pick your sample then pack out with 80 more lbs than you came in with. Free. Huh.

    Thanks for the feedback. The manager of the rental place I interviewed was really excited when I brought them a copy.
    Reed Lukens likes this.

  11. #11
    Charter Member
    us
    Look at the Historical Gold Mining photo albums on my page

    Jan 2013
    Huntington, Or./ Stanton, AZ/ former Outlaw California Gold Dredger
    Tesoro Vaquero, Whites MXT, Vsat, GMT, 5900Di Pro, Minelab GPX 5000, GPXtreme, 2200SD, Excalibur 1000!
    2,324
    4567 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I have no idea what type of rock you're working in but we've had good luck with the Minelab detectors from the 2200SD up. We tried the Gold Monster in the mine this last year but it just couldn't handle all of the mineralization, where the GPX5000 shines.
    russau likes this.

  12. #12

    Jul 2020
    Oregon
    Minelab gs3000
    43
    97 times
    Prospecting
    Thanks Reed. I will try my GS3000 again. Pretty much a newb with it and working on the discrimination. Lots of iron in the vein. After all the feedback decided to keep my money in my wallet. Good news is I did my first successful assay! Now to find the right forum for questions on that.
    russau and Reed Lukens like this.

  13. #13

    Nov 2020
    24
    15 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hey folks. So I have a LOT of experience with XRFís. Iím the chief fire assayer at a mine, so Iíve got to experiment a lot... the XRF is great for quickly giving you an IDEA of whatís in a rock, but it is not even remotely accurate. Anything under 5-6 grams a ton it will usually not read it. Very inaccurate on standards, and anything above a couple ounces a ton will be way off also.

    Fun toy, useful tool for getting a GENERAL idea of a spot, not to be trusted with precision analytical values.

    You could always go with an AAS machine, but that takes a ton of time, knowledge and money. Tubes cost a fortune as well.

  14. #14

    Nov 2020
    24
    15 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Mountaineer2020 View Post
    Ya it doesn't sound like the way to go but here's how it worked in my mind.... So between what I've got claimed up and my patent claim there's about 1200' of workings and another 5,000 that are inaccessible but I intend to open up. The old timers would take an assay every 5' in the drifts. I haven't done assays although I have all the equipment but from what I gather it's a fairly time consumptive process. I was hoping the xrf would be a good way to do a quick search for high grade ore. Between my claims and the ability to go out and search other old prospects I thought this would work as a fast litmus test about whether the ore was worth grinding and getting a fire assay on. From what I've read (sales brochures ya I know dubious source) the oxford x5100 can detect down to the 5-30 ppm level. One ounce per ton is 41 ppm using troy ounces. So if the LOD (limit of detection) truly is as advertised I should be able to find anything 1/2 ounce per ton and up. In theory. However I don't know how they work. Do they find just a limited range of elements? The first 40 most abundant? Or can you dial them into search for specifics? There are really good silver mines in the area as well running 100 ounce per ton. It's not an indicator of gold though as most dont carry much value in gold. So that was the plan! I am rethinking now
    One oz/t is 31ppm; as ppm is equivalent to grams. We sample/assay every 1 foot at this mine

  15. #15

    Jul 2020
    Oregon
    Minelab gs3000
    43
    97 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by utahvikingr View Post
    Hey folks. So I have a LOT of experience with XRF’s. I’m the chief fire assayer at a mine, so I’ve got to experiment a lot... the XRF is great for quickly giving you an IDEA of what’s in a rock, but it is not even remotely accurate. Anything under 5-6 grams a ton it will usually not read it. Very inaccurate on standards, and anything above a couple ounces a ton will be way off also.

    Fun toy, useful tool for getting a GENERAL idea of a spot, not to be trusted with precision analytical values.

    You could always go with an AAS machine, but that takes a ton of time, knowledge and money. Tubes cost a fortune as well.
    Great info Utah thanks! Decided against the XRF based on feedback. New plan is to take batch samples and assay about 4 at a time in the furnace.

 

 

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