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Compact X-Ray Fluorescence borehole probe for uniquely flexible, efficient and complete underground material analysis

Project description

Mini probe for underground mineral discoveries

Exploration is the foundation in mining. It’s how new ore bodies are identified for development. But exploration performance is tricky and it hinges on the quality of environmental and geological research applications. Traditional methods (analysis of samples in labs or through complex on-site equipment) are not only expensive but also time consuming. They also involve significant environmental damage. The EU-funded IBERIA XRF project will develop a miniaturised probe that uses X-ray fluorescence analysis to measure with outstanding accuracy the ground’s mineral composition along small, low-impact boreholes. By collecting precise and real-time elemental analysis information, the project’s probe will improve the efficiency of the exploration stage and reduce its cost and duration. The project estimates 250 units will be sold by 2025.


J&C Bachmann is specialized in the design and development of industrial measurement and control equipment for the mining industry. We develop physical and image based analysis and measuring methods for the determination of material properties, quality assurance and process automation. With an experienced team of physicists and engineers, we provide highly specialized and high added value measuring and control products and services.

In the mining industry and for any other environmental and geologic research applications, exploration investigations are frequently accompanied by large scale drilling and blasting. Traditional methods of elemental analysis of samples in laboratories or through complex on-site equipment are both time consuming and extremely expensive, while also involving significant environmental damage: Over €10 billion are spent every year on prospecting and exploration tasks worldwide. For a particular site, this process can take up to 8 years to complete and cost over €15 million.

Over the last years of R&D, we have conceived a miniaturized probe that uses X-Ray Fluorescence analysis to measure with outstanding accuracy the ground’s mineral composition along small, low-impact boreholes. Without any radioactive sources, the compact probe directly collects precise and real-time elemental analysis information directly inside the borehole. Our probe will help improve the efficiency of the prospecting and exploration stages, by reducing its cost and duration by 80%. At a fraction of the cost of larger, bulkier radioactive neutron-based probes, IBERIA XRF will also provide us with a key market advantage, allowing us to sell an estimated 250 units by 2025 and generate over €20 million in revenues. It will also provide us increased visibility and allow us to consolidate our brand as a reference in mining equipment market, leading to the creation of over 50 high grade jobs in the EU.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
Speicherstrasse 23
76307 Karlsbad

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe Karlsruhe, Landkreis
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Other funding
€ 21 429,00