2019-2020 / GEOL0312-1

Process mineralogy


25h Th, 25h Labo., 15h Proj.

Number of credits

 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering, professional focus in geometallurgy (EMERALD) (Erasmus mundus)5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering5 crédits 
 Master of Science (MSc) in Geological and Mining Engineering (Co-diplomation avec l'Université polytechnique de Madrid)5 crédits 


Eric Pirard

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

  • Introduction : from analytical chemistry to analytical mineralogy
  • Sampling of particulate materials
  • Particle Size and Shape Analysis
  •                Sieving, Coulter, Sedimentation, Laser Diffraction, Image Analysis,...
  •                Representation of particle size distributions (PSD)
  •                Statistics for PSD
  • Reflected Light Optical Microscopy
  •                Theory of optics and mineral surfaces
  •                Mineralogical Imaging
  •                Image processing and analysis principles
  •                Quantitative mineralogy (modal analysis, liberation analysis,...)
  • Electron beam microscopy
  • The electron microscope
  • Imaging modes (SE, BSE, ...)
  • Electron beam microanalysis and mapping
  • Automated mineralogy
  • Infrared and Raman spectroscopy for minerals
  • X Ray diffraction
  • Xray MicroCT Tomography (optional)

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • Understand qualitative and quantitative analytical mineralogy techniques essential for monitoring mineral processing operations.
  • Be able to use them appropriately and to make a sound data interpretation
  • Be able to cross-correlate the results of the different techniques for validation
  • Make use of the obtained mineralogical data to balance unit operations and identify issues related to elemental deportment in the process
  • Be able to build recovery curves and develop a geometallurgical approach in processing complex and low grade ores

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Basic Mineralogy Course
Notions of Mineral Processing

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Lectures are delivered in a classroom allowing for spontaneous interaction between professor and students. The lessons use PPT with images of microscopic ore textures.
Every (2h) lecture is complemented by a (2h) practical session on the instruments presented during the course. The students are given real ore samples on which they have to perform a series of analyses and report in written form about their findings. Ideally the samples are those on which they work in the mineral processing course so that the analytical information gathered during these practical sessions serves for the interpretation of recoveries obtained in the mineral processing lab.
Reflected light Optical Microscopy on a variety of ore samples is organized both in the lab and with virtual acccess. Identification of ore minerals is a key competence to develop during the course.
Whenever possible scholars (expert researchers) are invited to present insights into the most advanced and innovative technologies (ex. X-Ray tomography; automated mineralogy;...).

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

  • Frontal instruction (2h) to explain the principles, capabilities and limitations of the techniques
  • Hands-on learning (2h) on real ore samples using a variety of techniques
  • Written report and face-to-face discussion with young researchers about results

Recommended or required readings

Required :
Power Point presentations available through the student portal (MyULg)
Process Mineralogy, M.Becker, E Wightman and C Evans (editors), JKMRC Monograph Series (2017)

Assessment methods and criteria

80% : Written examination consisting in a series of questions relating to both a sound understanding of the underlying principles and to the proper interpretation of data collected from real case studies.
10% : Practical works handed over by students during the year (particle size analysis, image analysis,...) contribute to the final mark for 10%. The scientific rigor, clear structure and illustration as well as care taken in the presentation are essential criteria in the evaluation.
10% : Practical examination in optical ore microscopy (on site or virtual).

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks

Full English