Mineral Separates and Electric-Pulse Disaggregation

ODM routinely prepares research-grade mineral separates for government, academic and industry clients (domestic and international) at exploration prices. The high-quality mineral separates are ideally suited for geochronology and indicator mineralogy.

Mineral Separates

Coarse garnet liberated by EPD

ODM’s full-service, mineral processing laboratory routinely prepares monomineralic separates for a growing number of universities, governments and exploration/mining companies.  The separates are ideal for many age-dating methods such as: U-Pb, K-Ar, Ar-Ar, Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd and Re-Os.


Some of the minerals that are commonly concentrated are:

  • Zircon

  • Apatite

  • Monazite

  • Feldspar

  • Baddeleyite

  • Sericite

  • Illite

  • Biotite

  • Muscovite

  • Hornblende

  • Garnet

  • Sulphides


Mineral separates are prepared from rock pulverized by in-house electric-pulse disaggregation (“EPD”) or mechanical crushing . The quality of the mineral separates is monitored by professional geologists/mineralogists and is confirmed by SEM/EDS. Customized processing is routinely utilized to optimize mineral concentration.

Electric-Pulse Disaggregation (“EPD”)

Spark 2 Electric Pulse Disaggregator

Disaggregated rock in sample bag

ODM owns and operates a Spark 2 electric-pulse disaggregator.  The Spark 2 employs high-voltage electrical pulses to fragment a rock sample along zones of weakness (e.g. mineral grain boundaries and fractures).

Some key features and advantages of EPD at ODM include:

  • The EPD process liberates a higher proportion of undamaged, monomineralic grains compared to mechanical crushing.

  • Typically, 0.5 to 2 kg of sample is usually sufficient for most mineral separate requirements.

  • The Spark 2 has a large (10 inch diameter) disaggregation chamber that is able to accommodate samples up to 5 kg.

  • Coarse mineral grains are not destroyed during EPD.

  • ODM has strived to greatly reduce potential carry-over between samples:

    • The disaggregation chamber is composed of stainless steel and is completely accessible permitting it to be thoroughly cleaned before and after every sample.

    • The EPD process occurs in water and does not generate airborne dust (a potential contaminant).

    • The disaggregation chamber is lined with a new plastic sample bag for every sample.  This ODM-exclusive development greatly reduces the risk of inter-sample contamination because both the sample material and the host water are contained within the sample bag giving a high-degree of confidence in the recovered minerals.

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