Geotechnical Industry

Man-made constructions in the modern world rely on the provision of accurate information on the physical and chemical characteristics of any natural material involved in these constructions.  Engineers recognize the variations that are inherent in natural materials and ensure that the design parameters take into account the possible range of variations.  Fundamental to the understanding of natural material is an examination and assessment of that material under the microscope. 

It has long been established that there are a number of common minerals that are deleterious to the performance and durability of constructions, such as expanding clay, sulphides, and certain varieties of quartz.  Where the mineralogy is masked by alteration or weathering or where it is too fine-grained to be resolved optically, additional techniques, such as X-ray diffraction analysis, are required to support the petrography.  

The professional services provided to the geotechnical and engineering industries are covered in the attachment for the services to the mining industry.

List of services


  • Provide a petrographic service to cover all requirements, from:
    • basic rock identification
    • identification plus brief description with modal analysis
    • detailed state-of-the-art petrographic analysis
    • as above and including indicated petrology with large captioned colour photomicrographs
  • Check and if necessary re-interpret earlier petrographic analyses


  • Provide advice on most appropriate geochemical/scientific testing of samples
  • Organize and/or conduct specific geochemical tests; interpret all results
  • Relate geochemistry to mineralogy
  • Check and if necessary re-interpret earlier petrological analyses in relation to petrology

X-ray diffraction

  • Provide an X-ray diffraction service (with interpretation) to cover all requirements, from:
    • basic mineral identification
    • complex mineral identification
    • quantitative analyses of simple and complex systems
    • clay mineral analysis

Scanning electron microscopy/electron microprobe

  • to identify phases too small to resolve with optical microscopy
  • to characterize intergrowths or exsolution features; establish compositional zoning

Other forms of scientific analyses

  • geological
  • isotopic characterization
  • FTIR, ICP, XRF and DTA

Additional services

  • Assist geochemical and engineering staff with problems encountered during the development of mine, shafts, tunnels, roadways
  • Expert witness in litigation involving geoscientific matters