We developed and commercialised a disruptive new gold analysis solution that uses powerful x-rays for rapid results.
Capturing the full economic value of ore
Australia is the world's second largest gold producer with an annual gold production valued at approximately $15 billion.
Analytical services - worth nearly $1 billion globally - are an essential part of the mining value chain, from exploring for new deposits through to running profitable extraction operations.
In an industry facing declining ore grades, rapid analytical technology has the potential to unlock substantial productivity gains in gold mining and production, and open up a significant new market for real-time analysis services in on-site applications.
For example, gold processing plants may only recover between 65 and 85 per cent of gold present in mined rock. Given a typical plant produces around $1 billion of gold each year, this means hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold is going to waste.
Even a modest five per cent improvement in recovery would be worth around half a billion dollars annually to the industry.
Powerful x-ray analysis
We developed an automated solution that offers mineral analysis data in minutes. It is a reliable alternative to traditional chemical analysis methods that can take days to turnaround results.
The technique – based on Gamma Activation Analysis – uses high powered x-rays to bombard rock samples and activate atoms of gold and other metals. A highly sensitive detector then picks up the unique atomic signatures from these elements to determine their concentrations.
Marketed as PhotonAssay, the solution offers a rapid alternative to the conventional, 500-year-old fire assay technique, which involves sending samples off to a central laboratory, where they are heated up to 1200°C and generally destroyed.
PhotonAssay is non-destructive and can deliver results in just a few minutes without generating any of the toxic waste products that are problematic in other assay systems.
New company Chrysos set to disrupt
PhotonAssay is an innovative solution to drive better and faster decision-making across the value chain.
We partnered with a network of experienced investors and industry professionals to form Chrysos Corporation Limited (Chrysos) in late-2016 to quickly bring the technology to market.
Chrysos, named from the Greek word for gold, is initially focused on gold analysis, but the technology could eventually be applied to a wide range of other metals including silver and copper.
Major mining services company Ausdrill became the first to adopt PhotonAssay in May 2018.
Since then Chrysos has commissioned two further units in the Kalgoorlie goldfields of Western Australia.
Chysos has also delivered a PhotonAssay unit for Kirkland Lake Gold's Fosterville Mine located in Victoria.
Chrysos plans to eventually bring the solution closer to mine sites for near real-time turnaround on assay results directly where critical operational decisions are being made.