The Chemical Laboratory Services Section (CLSS) of the Metallurgical Technology Division – Mines and Geosciences Bureau is conducting a research focusing on a mercury-free analysis of total iron in lateritic and iron ores. The research aims to reduce the occupational hazard to MGB Chemists and others involved in the analysis of rock samples from the possible risk of mercury exposure.
Led by Ms. Sylvia S. Alcantara, CLSS chief, the procedure, which is commonly known as Reductometric Titration with Ascorbic Acid, is deemed to replace the traditional method of volumetric titration using mercuric chloride. Initial tests already yielded positive results.
Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal and is commonly known as quicksilver. It is the only metallic element that is liquid at standard temperature and pressure. Mercury is a very toxic element which can enter the body through an open wound, or by inhalation or ingestion. It can cause damage to the nerves, liver and kidney. Mercury exposures can result to chronic and acute poisonings to both humans and animal species.
The research involves the analysis of different types of iron-bearing ores using the conventional method vis-à-vis the proposed one. Possible inter-laboratory analysis will be undertaken to ensure that the proposed mercury-free analysis is at par with the currently used methods.