Cobalt (Co) mine production primarily originates from the sediment‐hosted copper (Cu) deposits of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These deposits usually consist of three ore zones with a supergene oxide ore blanket overlying a transition zone which grades into a sulphide zone at depth. Each of these zones display a mineral assemblage with varying gangue mineralogy and, most importantly, a distinct state of oxidation of the mineralisation. This has direct implications for Cu and Co extraction during mineral processing as it dictates which processing method is to be used (i.e., leaching vs. flotation) and affects the performance of these. To optimise resource effi-ciency, reduce technical risks and environmental impacts, comprehensive understanding of varia-tion of ore mineralogy and texture in the deposit is essential. By defining geometallurgical ore types according to their inferred metallurgical behaviour, this information can serve to classify the re-sources and improve resource management. To obtain insight into the spatial distribution of mineral grades, it is necessary to develop techniques that have the potential to measure rapidly and, preferably, within the mine at relatively low‐cost. In this study, the application of portable Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is investigated to measure the mineralogy of drill core samples. A set of samples from a sediment‐hosted Cu‐Co deposit in DRC was selected to test this approach. Results were validated using automated mineralogy (QEMSCAN). Prediction of gangue and target mineral grades from the FTIR spectra was achieved through partial least squares regression (PLS‐R) combined with competitive adaptive reweighted sampling (CARS). It is shown that the modal mineralogy obtained from FTIR can be used to classify the ore according to type of mineralisation and gangue mineralogy into geometallurgical ore types. This classification supports selection of a suitable processing route and is likely to affect the overall process performance.
- Infrared spectroscopy
- Modal mineralogy