Identifying Bitumen in Oil Sands

Identifying total bitumen content (TBC) in oil sand mining helps gauge economic viability of the deposit and prepare for the ensuing proper treatment of the ore to recover bitumen and transform it into synthetic crude oil.

Deposits are not homogeneous and include variability in clay, bitumen, fines, and water that impact mining and recovery. Using an oreXpress geological field spectrometer with EZ-ID mineral identification software, a geologist can scan and identify bitumen in oil sands and help determine the economic and production viability of a deposit. The major known oil sands deposits are in the Athabasca region of Western Canada, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

Key distinctive absorption features can be seen with the oreXpress at 1400nm (water), 1720nm (oil), 1940nmm (water) 2200nm (clay – typically kaolinite or smectite), and 2310nm (oil).

The oreXpress delivers:

  • Spectral range from 350-2500nm
  • Reliable one-touch operation with autoshutter, autoexposure and autodark correction before each new scan – no optimization step
  • Small and lightweight with re-chargeable Li-ion batteries
  • Superior signal to noise ratio for faster scan times and better reflectance measurement
  • Single user operation with optional rugged handheld computer that provides a sunlight readable display, plus the ability to tag spectra with GPS, digital images, and audio notes
  • EZ-ID mineral identification software with the USGS library and optional SpecMIN and GeoSPEC libraries of nearly 2,600 spectra plus our Custom Library Builder module for creating your own known spectra library

The oreXpress provides the following advantages for oil sands exploration use:

  • Fast collection of data in minutes with no sample prep or sample destruction
  • Precision, accuracy and a wealth of information
  • Affordable measurement technology
  • In situ measurement capability

oreXpress for mining exploration and mineral identification

Field portable spectrometer that is fast, accurate, and built for rugged use in the field.

Match your target spectra against more than 1100 minerals in the USGS, GeoSpec and the SpecMIN mineral spectra libraries. Clay mineral alteration of smectite to kaolinite can be an indicator of bitumen in oil sands.