Rapid gold assay tech puts the heat on fire
PhotonAssay simplifies process, eliminates need to melt samples Metal Tech News – August 19, 2020
Last updated 9/2/2020 at 5:33am
What if a mining company could find out how much gold is in a sample by simply crushing it, putting it in a jar and zapping it with x-ray? Chrysos Corp.'s PhotonAssay is able to do just that.
Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, Chrysos PhotonAssay causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing enhanced analysis of gold, silver, and complementary elements in as little as two minutes. This provides the ability to carry out mine site and laboratory assays without the need for the multiple steps of traditional fire assays.
"Our PhotonAssay installations provide single-touch operation and improved safety outcomes, whilst also reducing labor requirements and the potential for human error," said Chrysos CEO Dirk Treasure. "The technology's fast turnaround on high sample volumes provides customers with time-critical operational data and drives optimization through their entire value chain."
This technology, originally developed at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), is being installed as a replacement to fire assays at an increasing number of mines and labs around the world.
"Recent developments across the sector are driving a desire for technological solutions that deliver measurable productivity gains and true competitive advantage," Treasure said. "This is an exciting time, not just for us, but for the entire industry."
Reinforcing its reputation for leveraging new technology at its operations in Australia and Canada, Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. is excited to be installing a Chrysos PhotonAssay unit at its Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia.
"We believe the PhotonAssay method has potential benefits for our business that include simple sample preparation, fast turnaround times for high-quality results, and improved outcomes related to health, environment, and the community," said Kirkland Lake Gold Chief Geologist Wess Edgar.
The ability to analyze up to 500-gram samples is another aspect of PhotonAssay that is particularly useful at high-grade gold mines like Fosterville, which produced a whopping 619,366 ounces of gold during 2019.
"The sample charge used in the PhotonAssay method is approximately 10-20 times larger than existing fire assay, and thus has potential for a more representative assay result of the entire crushed sample, which is considered important for samples containing high gold grades and/or visible-gold, as are often found at Fosterville," Edgar said.
The new PhotonAssay unit has been delivered to Fosterville and is expected to be fully operational by early October.
"It's very rewarding to have a global leader like Kirkland Lake embrace this new Aussie technology, which sees our research continuing to improve the efficiency and environmental sustainability of the industry around the world," said CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall.
In addition to Fosterville, Kirkland Lake operates the Macassa and Detour Lake mines in Ontario, Canada.