Trace metals that are commonly associated with mineralization were concentrated and separated from natural water by coprecipitation with ammonium pyrollidine dithiocarbamate (APDC) and cobalt and determined by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). The method is useful in hydrogeochemical surveys because it permits preconcentration near the sample sites, and selected metals are preserved shortly after the samples are collected. The procedure is relatively simple: (1) a liter of water is filtered; (2) the pH is adjusted; (3) Co chloride and APDC are added to coprecipitate the trace metals; and (4) later, the precipitate is filtered, dissolved, and diluted to 10 ml for a 100-fold concentration enrichment of the separated metals. Sb(III), As(III), Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mo, Ni, Ag, V, and Zn can then be determined simultaneously by ICP-AES. In an experiment designed to measure the coprecipitation efficiency, Sb(III), Cd and Ag were recovered at 70 to 75% of their original concentration. The remaining metals were recovered at 85 to 100% of their original concentrations, however. The range for the lower limits of determination for the metals after preconcentration is 0.1 to 3.0 ??g/l. The precision of the method was evaluated by replicate analyses of a Colorado creek water and two simulated water samples. The accuracy of the method was estimated using a water reference standard (SRM 1643a) certified by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards. In addition, the method was evaluated by analyzing groundwater samples collected near a porphyry copper deposit in Arizona and by analyzing meltwater from glacier-covered areas favorable for mineralization in south-central Alaska. The results for the ICP-AES analyses compared favorably with those obtained using the sequential technique of GFAAS on the acidified but unconcentrated water samples. ICP-AES analysis of trace-metal preconcentrates for hydrogeochemical surveys is more efficient than GFAAS because a large suite of metals is simultaneously determined with acceptable analytical accuracy and precision. The proposed analytical technique can provide direct evidence of mineralization and is useful in the exploration for unknown ore deposits. ?? 1991.
Additional publication details
An analytical method for hydrogeochemical surveys: Inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry after using enrichment coprecipitation with cobalt and ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate