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Posted: June 15, 2009
Acquisition Solidifies FEI's Leadership in Automated Mineralogy Solutions for the Natural Resources Industry
(Nanowerk News) FEI Company, a leading provider of atomic-scale imaging and analysis systems, today announced it has acquired the Mineral Liberation Analysis business of JKTech Pty Ltd, the technology transfer company for the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre (JKMRC) and other Centres of the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI) at The University of Queensland. The purchase price was AUD 5 million.
“FEI and JKTech have been technology partners for more than ten years—delivering MLA™ solutions to major natural resource companies and universities around the world,” said Dr. Paul Scagnetti, FEI’s Industry Division vice president and general manager. “This acquisition follows our recent acquisition of the QEMSCAN® solution and the assets of Intellection, the other major force in automated mineralogy, giving FEI a leadership position in this market.”
“We’re pleased by FEI’s commitment to take MLA to the next level,” said Dr. Geoff Gault, JKTech Managing Director, “The resources and capabilities that FEI is putting into automated mineralogy should have a substantial positive impact on the ROI of natural resources companies around the world. The MLA technology has been rapidly adopted by the world’s leading mining companies, giving credit to the MLA inventor Dr Ying Gu.”
Automated mineralogy systems identify minerals in polished sections of drill core, cuttings, particulate, or lump materials, and quantify a wide range of characteristics, such as mineral abundance, grain size, porosity/permeability and liberation. These geological properties drive business decisions in natural resource recovery operations such as mining, mineral processing and oil & gas drilling, making MLA and QEMSCAN invaluable to geophysicists, geologists, mineralogists and metallurgists who engage in process optimization, feasibility studies and particle characterization analyses.
MLA unlocks the power of scanning electron microscope technology to perform targeted mineralogical analyses automatically. Recovery and grade in mineral processing is strongly determined by grain size distributions in the ore and in the beneficiation products, mineral liberation size and mineral associations. Traditionally, the measurement of these core characteristics was only carried out to a limited extent, and the measurements employed optical microscopy and/or a semi-automated scanning electron microscope (SEM). MLA vastly increases the speed and accuracy of liberation analysis, while introducing a high degree of measurement automation.
QEMSCAN is used in a wide range of applications, including exploration, characterizing precious and trace phases, plant audits and process optimization. It provides rapid, accurate, precise and exhaustive chemical and mineralogical analysis of any material, and is adaptable to any materials of inorganic nature, which require characterization for process control. On January 5, 2009, FEI announced the purchase of selected assets from Intellection Pty Ltd., including all QEMSCAN software and intellectual property.
FEI is a premiere provider of electron and ion-beam microscopes for nanoscale research and manufacturing across many industries: industrial and academic research, life sciences, electronics, natural resources and more. FEI’s imaging systems provide 3D characterization, analysis and modification/prototyping with resolutions down to the sub-Ångström level (one-tenth of a nanometer). With a 60-year legacy of technological innovation and leadership, FEI has set the performance standard across the TEM, SEM, and DualBeam™ FIB/SEM microscope categories with its Titan™, Magellan™ and Helios™ product families. FEI’s NanoPorts in North America, Europe and Asia provide centers of technical excellence where its world-class community of customers and specialists collaborate. FEI has sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world.