Detection of mineral impurities in diatomite ores


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Adriana Guatame-Garcia*, Mike Buxton

Pp 19-24

DOI:10.14644/amamicam.2017.004

Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is commonly used in the industry for the manufacturing of filters, where
diatomite is preferred due to its low chemical reactivity and high porosity. Diatomite deposits with
major amounts of mineral impurities, such as carbonates, present a problem in the production DE. In
this study, samples from a diatomite deposit with known presence of carbonate were analysed. With
the aim of estimating the carbonate content, the samples were analysed with infrared (IR)
spectroscopy. The association between the carbonate and diatomite was characterised using thin
sections and Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy (ESEM). Based on the infrared spectra,
the diatomite ore was classified according to the carbonate content. The microscopy images showed
laminae, cement and coating of carbonate around the diatomite. These findings indicate that the IR
classification along with the type of carbonate association can optimise the production of DE.
Keywords: Diatomite, Carbonate, Impurities, Ore Classification, Infrared Spectroscopy