Key Info

Basic Information

Prof. Dr. Peter Letmathe
Faculty / Institution:
Business and Economies
Project duration:
01.01.2020 to 31.12.2022
EU contribution:
1.548.303 euros


In­situ ore grading system using LIBS in harsh environments


INSite brings together a multidisciplinary research team with a renowned spectroscopy company to take to the market a new smart LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) technology. LIBS is a powerful spectroscopy technique for element analysis with very promising features for real time assessment of composition. However, in spite of many systems already probing the market, its performance is only acceptable with simple samples and in controlled conditions. Its identification and quantification abilities rapidly decline with sample complexity and environmental roughness (e.g. underwater). To date no satisfactory system presents acceptable performance when facing complex mineral samples in harsh mining conditions. Recently, however, our team has developed novel methods that allow LIBS technology to perform with accurate analytical performance even with complex mineral samples, thus enabling real time ore grading. This was achieved under the framework of Horizon 2020 VAMOS project [], where the technology was validated in a relevant mining environment (TRL6). The technology is in a mature state and is ready to be improved to the market under the efforts of INSite project. INSite aims to bring to market a unique and integrated LIBS technology suitable to perform accurately in harsh mining environments with true analytical capabilities. The Smart-LIBS technology involves an improved concept which is based on novel Artificial Intelligence algorithms with advanced self-learning strategies, coupled with an extensive knowledge-database of spectra and analytical information of complex minerals. Comparative lab tests with other systems in the market have shown, in a test case of lithium minerals a superior performance, with good accuracy and free of the false negative and false positive indications which plagued the commercial systems. Using patented calibration transfer methods, the technology can be incorporated in different hardware configurations enabling a new set of tools for smart mining, suitable for both exploration and exploitation stages. The project will deliver a new portable smart LIBS system suitable for insitu identification and quantification of minerals, particularly suited for low atomic number elements, such as Lithium, where the regular technologies such as XRF do not work. In addition, exploratory works will prepare next generation of the product to work underwater, unveiling the new market of the mining activity. The equipment has huge potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the costs and environmental foot print of mining operations. Furthermore, having such analytical capabilities in situ, is also an asset in many other fields of application and potential markets: geosciences research/services, oil and gas research and development fields.


  • Institute for 51. Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto, Portugal (Coordinator)
  • Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche CNR, Italy
  • Geological Survey of Slovenia, GeoZS, Slovenia
  • Ghent University, Belgium
  • Metrohm AG, Switzerland
  • Technical University Delft, Netherlands

Logo Supported by RawMaterials and European Union

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