Near-infrared reflectance analysis (NIRA) has been applied to the rapid characterization of mineral samples. A suite of 82 West Australian iron ores was used to carry out the work. Approximately half the samples, chosen randomly, were used as a calibration set, while the remaining samples formed a prediction test set. Correlations were sought for eight of the significant practical properties of the samples. These properties were major element analysis, combined water, relative density, and goethite concentration. Reasonably close correlations were obtained for most of the properties, except silicon, although the estimated prediction errors were worse than those obtained with conventional methods. Nevertheless, the speed and simplicity of the NIRA method should make it of use in many quality-control applications. The relatively poor result for silicon is probably due to the transparency of quartz in the near-infrared region.
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