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Welsh Firm Develops Business Links in Finland


X-ray Mineral Services (XMS), a Welsh company based in Colwyn Bay, announces its recent participation in a collaboration with the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) to promote and develop business links between the UK and Finland.

As part of this initiative, two geologists with XMS, Stephen Jones and Dr Lorenza Sardisco, travelled to Helsinki last month to present a 1-day course on Quantitative X-ray Diffraction (QXRD) at GTK’s headquarters, organised by Alan Butcher, Professor of Geomaterials and Applied Mineralogy. The participants on this course included GTK geologists, and representatives from other companies based in the Helsinki area looking to improve their knowledge and understanding of the specialist analytical techniques which are used by XMS to identify and quantify ore types, and especially those associated with Battery Minerals.

As part of their visit to Helsinki, Stephen Jones and Lorenza Sardisco were invited to the British Embassy to meet with Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Finland, HMA Tom Dodd, to discuss business development opportunities between the UK and Finland, and in particular the provision of geological services to Finnish-based organisations by X-ray Mineral Services (see attached photo).

This development follows on from the participation of XMS and GTK in the BATCircle project – a 22 M€ Business Finland initiative, led by Aalto University, involving research into the Circular Economy of Battery Metals (BATCircle). The key objective of the BATCircle project is to find ways of adding value to the battery metals sector. This will be achieved by more efficient screening and utilisation of mineral resources, enhancement of the metal refining processes, more efficient recycling of battery metals, improved co-operation between the companies and research organisations, as well as through the identification of new business opportunities between partners.

The UK is facing an unprecedented energy challenge with the recent announcement that all combustion engines (petrol & diesel engines) will be progressively phased out by 2040 and replaced with electric vehicles. Current battery technology solutions require that minerals such as cobaltite (CoAsS), chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), spodumene (LiAl(SiO3)2), pentlandite ((Fe,Ni)9S8), and graphite (C) will all be required for the production of battery metals (Co, Cu, Li, Ni, C) and materials (anode, cathode, electrolyte). And yet world mining statistics all suggest that current known resources will not be enough to supply this anticipated huge demand. More battery minerals are therefore required to be identified from the UK, Europe and beyond.

X-ray Mineral Services is a company specializing in X-ray diffraction (XRD) mineralogical and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) elemental analysis for upstream oil and gas companies and large geological service consultancy groups. The company has also established a successful non-oil & gas analytical business with customers in the extractive, geotechnical, environmental, recycling and academic sectors and provides quality control data for tile, brick and ceramic manufacturers. In addition, it offers expert advisory services on mineralogical issues. The company is part of the Hafren Scientific Group which trades under the names Chemostrat and Origin Analytical.

“We are very excited to participate in this joint venture with GTK to promote the development of battery mineral resources in Europe.” said Stephen Jones, General Manager of X-ray Mineral Services. “Our highly capable analytical and consultancy team based in North Wales will be able to actively contribute to the future improvement in battery technology solutions”.

GTK is a leader in geoscience research with strategic objectives that include tackling major global challenges, such as questions related to sustainable production, circular economy, clean water, low-carbon energy and climate change.

Hafren’s principal focus in oil and gas is to de-risk exploration and enable wells to be drilled with increased success, reducing the number of wells drilled to drain a reservoir and thereby limiting the environmental impact. Hafren are extending this philosophy to mining and processing by establishing new analytical workflows to optimise exploration assessment by reducing the number of boreholes drilled and by improving mineral processing by identifying product contamination and development protocols for recycling materials and water. Hafren strategy is ultimately to migrate its analytical capability and skills from oil and gas to support green technology such as battery resources and environmental impact sectors.

“Our geoscience group believes that high-quality data is at the heart of robust geological solutions and the Hafren Group has had considerable success in providing practical solutions for clients that do not compromise on quality,” said Tim Pearce, Hafren Group MD.

The Hafren Group wishes to acknowledge the continued support of the Development Bank of Wales and the Welsh Government. This development will further strengthen geoscience service provision, an important export sector, in Wales.