New tech gives gold sector edge

THE latest in gold assay technology is now operational at Ausdrill’s MinAnalytical facility outside Perth.
New tech gives gold sector edge New tech gives gold sector edge New tech gives gold sector edge New tech gives gold sector edge New tech gives gold sector edge

The photon assay system installed at Ausdrill’s MinAnalytical laboratory in Perth. Copyright Tony McDonough

Developed by CSIRO, the photon assay technology was commercialised by Chrysos Corporation in partnership with CSIRO and RFC Ambrian.

Ausdrill recently installed a Chrysos photon assay machine in a world-first adoption of the technology.

The photon assay process cuts the time it takes to analyse a drilling sample from up to two days to less than 10 minutes and is a chemistry-free alternative to fire assaying.

"For Australian mining companies, this technology delivers such a fast turnaround that has never been available to the market before, and does so with less sample preparation and in a non-destructive fashion," Ausdrill chief operating officer - Australia Andrew Broad said.

"This opens up a whole range of possibilities for our clients to review their processes to take advantage of the accessibility to results, which ultimately will deliver cost savings to their business.

"This is game-changing technology, and it has certainly generated a lot of interest in the industry, with several major companies supplying samples for the validation process that we are currently working through."

Ausdrill has invested in Chrysos and is assisting with the commercialisation of the technology.

The first machine is now operational and has the capacity to analyse up to 50,000 samples per month at a similar cost to conventional methods.

Ausdrill has made the commitment to install a further two machines in Kalgoorlie.

Chrysos CEO Dirk Treasure said that the company had a rapid growth plan and were well placed to disrupt the global gold analysis services market, offering near-real time, accurate analysis for the first time.

"With the first system now up and running at Ausdrill, we have successfully progressed the photon assay technology from concept through to a deployed product in just 16 months," he said.

"Our lease model has been well received by the industry, with photon assay technology benefits being delivered without any increase in operating or capital costs."

Chrysos says the technology could be expanded to other metals in the future.

Ausdrill has long-term plans to take it to Africa, where it is extremely active.

Ausdrill also recently invested in end-to-end seismic hard rock exploration service provider HiSeis.

Shares in Ausdrill were around 2.5% lower this morning at A$2.555, valuing the company at around $945 million.