Standard Active Last Updated: Aug 12, 2020
ASTM E1915-20

Standard Test Methods for Analysis of Metal Bearing Ores and Related Materials for Carbon, Sulfur, and Acid-Base Characteristics

Significance and Use

4.1 These test methods are primarily intended to test materials for compliance with compositional specifications and for monitoring.

4.1.1 The determination of carbon and sulfur and acid neutralization potential in ores and related materials is necessary to classify ores for metallurgical processing and to classify waste materials from the mining and processing of ores such as leach residues, waste rock, and tailings according to their potential to generate acid in the environment. This information is useful during mine development to assist in mining and mineral processing operations and for proper disposal of waste materials. The use of the acid neutralization potential titration low range method is most useful where acidity is present in the samples and when acid potential by titration is desired in the uncertain range below 2 % CaCO3.

4.1.2 These test methods are also used to isolate minerals based on carbon and sulfur contents of metal-bearing ores and related materials so that acid-base accounting can be performed (that is, carbonate mineral acid neutralization potential (ANP) minus sulfide-sulfur mineral acid generation potential (AGP) = net calcium carbonate (NCC)).

4.1.3 Additionally, the carbon hydrochloric acid insoluble test method has utility to identify the amount of organic carbon contained in gold ores so that potential for preg-robbing can be identified and rectified through established pretreatment methods prior to cyanidation. Warning—Pyrolysis pretreatment at 550 °C has a potential to thermally decompose some carbonate minerals: (1) transition metal carbonates (for example, siderite, FeCO3, and rhodochrosite, MnCO3) decompose, yielding carbon dioxide (CO2) in the range of 220 °C to 520 °C; (2) calcite decomposes slightly between 300 °C and 500 °C, although most decomposition occurs above 550 °C; (3) dolomite decomposes at 800 °C to 900 °C (Hammack, 1994, p. 440).3

4.2 These test methods also may be used for the classification of rock to be used in construction, where the potential to generate acid under environmental conditions exists.

4.3 It is assumed that the users of these test methods will be trained analysts capable of performing common laboratory procedures skillfully and safely. It is expected that work will be performed in a properly equipped laboratory and that proper waste disposal procedures will be followed. Appropriate quality control practices such as those described in Guide E882 must be followed.


1.1 These test methods cover the determination of total carbon, sulfur, and acid-base characteristics in metal bearing ores and related materials such as leach residues, tailings, and waste rock within the following ranges:


Application Range, %

Quantitative Range, %

Total Carbon

0 to 10

0.08 to 10

Total Sulfur

0 to 8.8

0.023 to 8.8

Note 1: The test methods were tested over the following ranges:

Total Carbon

0.01 % to 5.87 %

Total Sulfur

0.0002 % to 4.70 %

Residual Carbon from Pyrolysis

0.002 % to 4.97 %

Residual Sulfur from Pyrolysis

0.014 % to 1.54 %

Pyrolysis Loss Sulfur

0 % to 4.42 %

Hydrochloric Acid Insoluble Carbon

0.025 % to 0.47 %

Hydrochloric Acid Loss Carbon

0 % to 5.78 %

Hydrochloric Acid Insoluble Sulfur

0.012 % to 4.20 %

Acid Neutralization Potential Acidity Titration

-1.0 % to 100 %

Acid Neutralization Potential Acidity Titration Low Range

-1.0 % to 2 % CaCO3

Nitric Acid Insoluble Sulfur

0.006 % to 0.924 %

Nitric Acid Loss Sulfur

-0.08 % to 4.19 %

Sodium Carbonate Insoluble Sulfur

0.007 % to 3.78 %

1.2 The quantitative ranges for the partial decomposition test methods are dependent on the mineralogy of the samples being tested. The user of these test methods is advised to conduct an interlaboratory study in accordance with Practice E1601 on the test methods selected for use at a particular mining site, in order to establish the quantitative ranges for these test methods on a site-specific basis.

1.3 The test methods appear in the following order:



Carbon and Sulfur, Total

10.1 – 10.9

Carbon and Sulfur, Residual from Pyrolysis

10.10 – 10.18

Carbon and Sulfur, Hydrochloric Acid Insoluble

10.19 – 10.27

Acid Neutralization Potential Acidity Titration

10.28 – 10.36

Acid Neutralization Potential Acidity Titration Low Range

10.37 – 10.46

Sulfur, Nitric Acid Insoluble

10.47 – 10.55

Sulfur, Sodium Carbonate Insoluble

10.56 – 10.64

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific warning statements are given in Section 6.

1.6 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 03.05
Developed by Subcommittee: E01.02
Pages: 24
DOI: 10.1520/E1915-20
ICS Code: 71.040.50