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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


MANDENDE, H.; NDOU, C.  and  MOTHUPI, T.. Hyperspectral core scanner: An effective mineral mapping tool for apatite in the Upper Zone, northern limb, Bushveld Complex. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2023, vol.123, n.2, pp.81-92. ISSN 2411-9717.

The technological advances in efficient, rapid, and non-destructive hyperspectral core logging systems for systematic mineral mapping have led to the discovery and exploitation of new mineral deposits Hyperspectral imaging in the long-wave infrared range has been recently used successfully to identify various phosphate-bearing minerals (monazite, xenotime, and britholite), with limited work on apatite associated with mafic-ultramafic layered intrusions. In this study we investigate the effectiveness of a hyperspectral imaging (HSI) system with long-wave infrared (LWIR) bandwidthsto identify apatite in the Upper Zone of the Bushveld Complex. The accuracy of the HSI results was validated by mineralogical and geochemical data. The two apatite-enriched zones detected by HSI suggesting widespread development of apatite throughout the uppermost 600 m of the Upper Zone. The lower apatite-enriched zone is approximately 40 m thick, while the upper apatite-enriched zone is about 23 m thick, consistent with previous thickness determinations by traditional logging and analytical methods. Spectral mixing observed in the response of apatite is ascribed either to the common association of apatite and olivine in these rocks, or to differences between the spatial resolution of the hyperspectral image and the size of apatite grains. The VNIR-SWIR wavelength region did not show prominent spectral features of apatite. Nonetheless, HSI in the LWIR range is effective in mapping apatite and should therefore be considered as an exploration tool. This research advances our knowledge of the reflectance spectroscopy of REE-bearing minerals, which makes it easier to detect, identify, and quantify REE-bearing silicate minerals by HSI.

Keywords : HSI; hyperspectral imaging system; long-wave infrared; apatite; Bushveld Complex.

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