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Geochemistry / Assay

Sample Preparation

The largest source of error in any sampling program is the sample collection stage. To obtain meaningful analytical results, it is imperative that this stage, as well as sample preparation be done properly. Actlabs can advise on sampling protocol for your field program if requested. 


Once the samples arrive in the laboratory, Actlabs will ensure that they are prepared appropriately. As a routine practice with rock and core, the entire sample is crushed to a nominal minus 2 mm, mechanically split (riffle) to obtain a representative sample and then pulverized to at least 95% minus 105 microns ( µ m).  All of our steel mills are mild steel and do not induce Cr or Ni contamination.

As a routine practice, we will automatically use cleaner sand between each sample at no cost to the customer. Quality of crushing and pulverization is routinely checked as part of our quality assurance program. Samples submitted in an unorganized fashion will be subject to a sorting surcharge and may substantially slow turnaround time.  Providing an accurate detailed sample list by e-mail will also aid in improving turnaround time and can be used for Quality Control purposes. 


See pages 5 and 6 of the pricelist for preparation and additional fees.

Our Sample Preparation Pricing is all-inclusive. This includes sorting, drying, labeling, new reject bags, using cleaner sand between each sample and crushing samples up to 7Kg (for RX1). 


Rock, Core, and Drill Cuttings



RX1 Crush (<7kg) up to 80% passing 2 mm, split (250 g) and pulverize (mild steel) to 95% passing 105 µm
RX1-ORE Crush up to 90% passing 2 mm
RX1+500 500 grams pulverized
R X1+800 800 grams pulverized
RX1+ 1000 1000 grams pulverized
RX1-SD Crush (<7 kg) up to 80 % passing 2 mm, rotary split (250 g) and pulverized (mild steel) to 95% passing 105 µm
RX1-SD-ORE Crush up to 90% passing 2 mm
RX3 Oversize charge per kilogram for crushing
RX4 Pulverization only (mild steel) (coarse pulp or crushed rock) (<800 g)
RX5 Pulverize Ceramic (100 g)


Hand pulverize small samples (agate mortar & pestle) (< 5 g)


Crush and Split (<5 kg)


Sample Prep only surcharge, no analyses

RX9 Compositing (per composite) dry weight
RX10 Weight (kg) as received
RX11 Checking Quality of pulps or rejects prepared by other labs and issuing reports
RX12 Ball Mill preparation
RX13 Rod Mill preparation
RX14 Core cutting
RX15 Special Preparation/Hour
RX16 Specific Gravity on Core
RX16-W Specific Gravity (WAX) on friable samples
RX17 Specific Gravity on pulps
RX-17-GP Specific Gravity on pulps by gas pyncometer

Note: Larger sample sizes than listed above can be pulverized at additional costs.


Pulverization Contaminants Added

Mill Type

Contaminant Added

Mild Steel 
(best choice)
Fe (up to 0.2%)
Hardened Steel Fe (up to 0.2%). Cr (up to 200 ppm), trace Ni, Si, Mn, and C
Ceramic Al (up to 0.2%), Ba, Trace REE
Tungsten Carbide W (up to 0.1%), Co, C, Ta, Nb, Ti
Agate Si (up to 0.3%), Al, Na, Fe, K, Ca, Mg, Pb

Note: Amount added depends on hardness of material and particle size required



Soils, Stream and Lake Bottom Sediments, and Heavy Minerals



S1 Drying (60°C) and sieving (-177 µm), save all portions
S1 DIS Drying (60°C) and sieving (-177 µm), discard oversize
S1-230 Drying (60°C) and sieving (-63 µm), save oversize
S1-230 DIS Drying (60°C) and sieving (-63  µm), discard oversize
S2 Lake Bottom Sediment preparation crush & sieve (-177 µm)
S3 Alternate size fractions and bracket sieving, add
S4 Selective  Extractions or SGH drying (40 o C) & sieving (-177  µm)
S5 Wet or damp samples submitted in plastic bags
S6 Separating -2 micron material
S7mi Methyelene  iodide heavy mineral separation
Specific gravity can be customized (100 g)


Sodium Polytungstate heavy mineral separation

Specific gravity can be customized (100 g)


Sieve analysis (4 sizes) coarser than 53 µm


Particle size analysis (laser)

Biogeochemical Sample



B1 Drying and Blending Humus
B2 Drying and Macerating vegetation
B3 Dry ashing
B4 Washing vegetation
B5 Samples submitted in plastic bags

Special Digestion Procedures

MDI   Microwave Digestion - Closed Vessel

Activation Laboratories Ltd. | 41 Bittern Street, Ancaster, Ontario, L9G 4V5, Canada | TF: +1.888.228.5227
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