CORDIS - EU research results

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

Project description

Streamlining mining operations with X-ray fluorescence analysis

Rapid and accurate sample analysis improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of mineral exploration and mining. The EU-funded IBERIA XRF project is developing a tiny probe that uses X-ray fluorescence, a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials with outstanding accuracy. The analytical technique determines the chemistry of a sample by measuring the fluorescent X-ray emitted by it when excited by a primary X-ray source. Unlike traditional methods, such as neutron activation, which are very expensive and time consuming, X-ray fluorescence will decrease exploration costs and duration by over 80 %. By 2026, the project expects to have sold more than 300 units and to have generated over EUR 20 million in revenue.


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 and mining 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 typically takes over a decade and costs a minimum of €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 over 80%. At a fraction of the cost of larger, bulkier radioactive neutron-based systems, IBERIA XRF will also provide us with a key market advantage, allowing us to commercialize an estimated 300 units by 2026 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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Funding Scheme

SME - SME instrument


Net EU contribution
€ 921 526,38

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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)
Total cost
€ 1 316 466,25