Mineral Production and HSE
Most industrial minerals can be used for a whole range of purposes, and many of the materials we use in a modern society have their origin in an industrial mineral in a more or less reworked form. Norway is rich in industrial minerals, and apart from limestone for cement, provides over 30% of Western Europe’s needs.
FROM GEOLOGICAL RESOURCE TO REFINED PRODUCT
Within resource geology and mineral production we have over several years had a lot of activity in the cross-disciplinary Strategic University Programme “The value chain from deposit to refined product with focus on quartz ”. The programme includes four research students and one post-doc and will in 2006 be completed through doctoral disputations and seminars as well as a series of international publications and presentations at international conferences. The project includes three sub-projects within geology, refining and characterization. Titania A/S, Hustadmarmor A/S, Norwegian Crystallite, North Cape Minerals and Elkem have been important industrial joint-venture partners and economic subscribers.
In the geology part the aim has been to investigate and evaluate the potential in Norway for quartz as a raw material for solar panel production. The focus has been on pegmatites in South Norway and a number of exciting results have emerged which have increased understanding for the possibility of finding quartz of the right quality.
In the refinement part we have, in addition to traditional dressing technology for purification of quartz, had special focus on the use of mechanical activation to produce mineral products of special quality. In the characterization project, which is carried out in close cooperation with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at NTNU, we have developed an automatic SEM-based method for detailed mineral composition determination and how minerals behave in association to other minerals in milled product. The method is described as Particle Texture Analysis (PTA) and has aroused great interest in the industry. In connection to the main project a doctoral study has been carried out in cooperation with Elkem on investigations of quartz as a raw material for the metallurgical production of silicon metal.
Elementkonsentrasjoner og fordeling kartlegges både i regional skala og i mikroskala for å forstå de geologiske prosessen. Denne forståelsen brukes til å lete etter kvarts med god nok kvalitet til høyteknologisk bruk som i f. eks. solceller.