Determination of precious metals in ores and rocks by thermal neutron activation/<tex>$\gamma$</tex>-spectrometry after preconcentration by nickel sulphide fire assay and coprecipitation with tellurium
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Analytica chimica acta. - Amsterdam
, p. 49-58
University of Antwerp
The six platinum group elements (Ru, Rh, Pd, Os, Ir and Pt) can be determined in geological samples down to the μg kg−1 level, by using nickel sulphide fire assay and neutron activation of the residue ramaining after dissolution of the nickel sulphide button in concentrated hydrochloric acid. Losses for the platinum group elements during this dissolution step are usually insignificant, except when the elements are present at ultra-trace levels. The can be recovered from the filtrate by coprecipitation with tellerium. The latter approach also permits determination of silver, which is significantly lost in the hydrochloric acid treatment (recovery <98% instead of typically ≈ 10%). The coprecipitation with tellurium considerably improves the results for gold (recovery ≈ 95% instead of typically 75%).