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Application Note

Measurement of Impurities in High-Purity Copper Concentrate using the NexION 5000 ICP-MS

Introduction

Most of the copper (Cu) concentrates produced globally contain some impurities, which can affect the price as copper concentrates containing high levels of impurities are not accepted by some smelters. To permit treatment and to maximize the value of a Cu concentrate, the levels of impurities in the concentrate need to be reduced below the limits set by the smelters and, in some cases, the authorities in the producing and receiving countries.

In order to measure the lowest possible levels of impurities, ICP-MS is required, as it is capable to accurately measure in the parts per trillion (ppt) range. However, to achieve these levels, both polyatomic and doubly charged interferences must be dealt with. This work demonstrates the accurate and reliable quantification of impurities in Cu concentrate using the NexION® 5000 ICP-MS, thanks to the combination of its unique multi-quadrupole capabilities and Universal Cell Technology, proven to be effective at removing spectral interferences.