2023-2024 / 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 (joint-degree programme with the "Université polytechnique de Madrid")5 crédits 


Hassan Bouzahzah, 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
             Operating principle of petrographic microscope

             Cytomine plateform

             Optical properties of mineral recognition under plane polarized light (PPL)

             Optical properties of mineral recognition under cross polarized light (XPL)

  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
             Operating principle of SEM

             Imaging modes (SE, BSE, ...)

            Electron beam microanalysis and mapping (EDS, µXRF) 

  • Automated mineralogy
  • Mineral quantification and data reconciliation
  • X Ray diffraction
  • Case studies (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
This course contributes to the learning outcomes I.1, I.2, I.3, II.1, II.2, IV.2, IV.3, VI.1, VI.2, VI.3, VI.4, VII.1, VII.2, VII.3, VII.4, VII.5 of the MSc in geological and mining engineering.

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, hybrid 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)

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

written exam

Written work / report

Additional information:

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)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Full English


Mrs Laura LENOIR

Teaching & Research assistant

Sart Tilman B52

e-mail : laura.lenoir@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs