MSALABS expands PhotonAssay business
Orders 15 units to meet growing demand for quicker gold assays Metal Tech News – July 20, 2022
Last updated 6/8/2023 at 11:58am
To meet the growing demand from mining companies eager for a technology capable of clearing the backlog of mineral samples stacked up at assay labs, MSALABS now plans to deploy 21 Chrysos PhotonAssay units around the globe by 2025.
"Over the past year, we have seen very strong demand for Chrysos PhotonAssay, and we expect this interest to continue to grow as our global mining customers not only gain confidence in its accuracy and reliability, but also benefit from the substantially improved turnaround time for results not possible with fire assay," said MSALABS CEO Stuart Thomson.
A relatively new mineral sample analysis technology developed and commercialized in Australia over the past two decades, PhotonAssay uses high-energy X-ray to excite atomic nuclei for the enhanced analysis of gold, silver, and complementary elements in as little as two minutes. In addition to being quicker, this 21st-century mineral analysis tech is less labor-intensive and safer than fire assay.
"Our PhotonAssay installations provide single-touch operation and improved safety outcomes, whilst also reducing labor requirements and the potential for human error," Chrysos CEO Dirk Treasure said in 2020, when the tech was first gaining traction. "The technology's fast turnaround on high sample volumes provides customers with time-critical operational data and drives optimization through their entire value chain."
With assay lab turnaround times being measured in months in a post-COVID world that has been challenged by labor shortages and tangled supply chains, an assay technology that can return results quickly is perfectly timed for global gold miners looking for solutions.
Given the strong demand for PhotonAssay, MSALABS has significantly expanded upon a partnership forged with Chrysos last year.
Under the original agreement, MSALABS is deploying six PhotonAssay units across its global network.
The company's original rollout of this 21st-century assaying tech kicked off with the installation of a PhotonAssay machine at Barrick Gold Corp.'s Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania, the first such unit outside of Australia.
The global provider of geochemical lab services for the mining sector has since installed PhotonAssay units in Mali, Africa, and Quebec, Canada. The remaining three units of the original order are to be installed in Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa; Barrick's Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and one in Ontario, Canada.
The company has committed to a further 15 Chrysos PhotonAssay units that will be rolled out over 2023 and 2024.
While it has not announced where these new units will be installed, MSALABS says it is currently engaged with multiple mining companies globally, including most of the top 10, and continues to see "exceptional demand" for this revolutionary new technology.
According to Chrysos, due diligence for the installation of PhotonAssay units by MSALABS and others is being carried out for 29 locations around the globe, including 10 in North America. Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Mexico, Nevada, Nunavut, Ontario, Puerto Rico, and Yukon are the North American locales under consideration.
BC-based MSALABS, which currently operates 18 laboratories on four continents, is anticipating substantial revenue growth from being among the earliest adopters of PhotonAssay technology.
The company says each PhotonAssay should generate C$3 million to C$5 million of revenue for the company per year. Once the 15 new units are installed over the next two years, coupled with expansion of the existing geochemistry business, the company expects to be generating revenues above $80 million per year. This is more than a 250% increase over the roughly C$30 million forecast for this year.
"Adding Chrysos PhotonAssay into our service offering is exciting for us and a key benefit for our customers," said Thomson.