Rare Earth Element containing Certified Reference Materials - Project leader, Maureen Leaver, MMS, NRCan
The Canadian Certified Reference Material Project (CCRMP) has been supplying high quality Certified Reference Materials (CRM's) to the mining industry since 1973. Its clients are analytical labs that use these materials as part of their Quality Assurance/Quality Control program to ensure the accuracy of their results. The CCRMP Advisory Committee, which is comprised of analytical laboratories serving the mining industry, has recently noted the lack of CRM's with "certified" values for REE. Since these results have implications on mineral investment decisions, having CRM's from Canadian deposits is important to support the emerging REE mining industry both domestically and abroad.
The CCRMP CRM's have "certified", "provisional" and "informational" elements on its certificates. These three levels designate the amount of confidence that is placed on the values reported on the certificate, "certified" being the highest and "informational" being the lowest. The use of a "certified" element is required by analytical laboratories accredited to ISO 17025 and is normally required to make decisions regarding the viability and value of an ore deposit. CCRMP presently has several CRM's that have "provisional" or "informational" values for some REE but only 3 materials that contain "certified" values.
The objective of this project is to determine the obstacles to the production of REE CRM's. The first phase of the project will concentrate on a gaps analysis and will involve an examination of the data obtained for the CRM's that are already in the CCRMP inventory. Discussions will be held with various analytical laboratories to determine if there are any issues related to the chemical analysis of REE. It will also be important to determine from industry, the types and concentrations of REE that are required.
A report will be written outlining the obstacles to producing REE CRM's that meet the needs of the industry. Depending on the findings of the first phase, an anticipated second phase will concentrate on developing solutions to overcome these obstacles and will have as a deliverable at least one CRM with certified REE values as well as the development of a protocol for the analysis of REE, if needed.