Tag Archives: CSIRO

Chrysos Corp’s PhotonAssay tech hits major milestone

Chrysos Corp has announced that its ground-breaking PhotonAssay technology has now assayed over one million customer samples.

The milestone comes amid accelerating demand for the technology, which has seen the number of samples analysed more than triple in the last six months, the Australia-based company said.

Driven in part by increasing industry focus on safety, sustainability, and sample turnaround time, Chrysos PhotonAssay is competing with the centuries-old fire assay process in the gold assaying market. Chrysos says the technology, which originated out of a CSIRO project, is fast taking over fire assay to be the preferred technology of miners and laboratories seeking a solution to the supply chain and environmental challenges created by traditional gold assaying methods.

Chrysos CEO, Dirk Treasure, explained, “Demand for PhotonAssay has grown over the last year and further accelerated in the last six months as more miners and laboratories have reached the conclusion, through their own due diligence, that PhotonAssay not just meets and exceeds their accuracy and cost requirements, but also overcomes the speed, safety, and environmental challenges inherent in fire assay.”

Recently, Chrysos and Intertek declared a deal to install two PhotonAssay units at Intertek’s new Minerals Global Centre of Excellence in Perth, Western Australia. Chrysos also announced a partnership with MSALABS, a subsidiary of Capital Ltd, to deploy at least six PhotonAssay units across the globe over an 18-month period. Prior to that, the company signed a deal enabling Kirkland Lake Gold to use PhotonAssay for its Fosterville Mine in Bendigo, Victoria.

Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, PhotonAssay causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing enhanced analysis of gold, silver and complementary elements in as little as two minutes, Chrysos claims. Importantly, the non-destructive process allows large samples of up to 500 g to be measured and provides a “true” bulk reading independent of the chemical or physical form of the sample.

“The significance of the technology’s ability to analyse large sample sizes is underlined by Novo Resources’ recent announcement that it has signed a multi-year deal for priority access to the two new PhotonAssay units being installed at Intertek’s Centre of Excellence,” Chrysos said. “In finalising the agreement, Novo signalled its belief that PhotonAssay is the ideal technique for analysing the nuggety gold mineralisation at its Beatons Creek operation in Western Australia.”

Dr James Tickner, Chrysos Corp Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, agreed: “Accurate assaying for coarse gold has always been a challenge, and it’s on difficult deposits where the much larger sample mass of PhotonAssay really delivers. It’s great to see industry recognising this, with Novo Resources committing to run at least 20,000 samples per month through each unit at Intertek’s brand-new facility in Perth. The two PhotonAssay units we’ve just commissioned there will really help Intertek deliver faster, cleaner and more accurate results, not just for Novo, but its other customers as well.”

Another factor driving fast adoption of the technology is Chrysos’ commercial and operating model whereby the company leases, rather than sells, its PhotonAssay units to customers, the company says. This approach not only minimises expenditure by relieving the customer of capital expenditure charges and any service, delivery and maintenance fees, but also reduces ongoing staffing, training and related occupational health, safety and environmental costs.

In return, the leasing model facilitates a recurring revenue stream for Chrysos, which the company has used for research and development and the overall broadening of applicability and accessibility of PhotonAssay for wet samples and other metals such as silver and copper, it says.

Reviewing recent successes and foreshadowing upcoming events, Treasure summarised, “Even with more than A$80 million ($62 million) in contracted revenue and 14 PhotonAssay units either in-use or committed, we remain focused on executing our smart, sustainable growth plans. Market feedback indicates that our disruptive technology is helping customers achieve faster, safer and cleaner business outcomes ‒ and that is the type of value creation Chrysos finds compelling.

“Ultimately, we want our customers, shareholders and community stakeholders to feel as much pride using and engaging with PhotonAssay, as we do when we create and deliver it across the globe.”

CSIRO on a mission to help Australia become a hydrogen power leader

A new Hydrogen Industry Mission launched by CSIRO will, Australia’s national science agency says, help support the world’s transition to clean energy, create new jobs and boost the economy.

Hydrogen, when mixed with oxygen, can be used as an emissions-free fuel source to generate electricity, power or heat. But it is expensive to turn into a fuel.

The research mission will help drive down the cost of hydrogen production to under A$2 per kilogram, making the fuel more affordable and helping to position Australia to lead the world in exporting hydrogen by 2030.

Over the next five years, more than 100 projects worth A$68 million ($53 million) have been planned by partners including: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Fortescue Metals Group, Swinburne University, the Victorian Government, the Future Fuels CRC, National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), and the Australian Hydrogen Council, along with collaborators Toyota and Hyundai. CSIRO and Boeing – research partners for more than 30 years – will also continue to explore hydrogen’s future use in the aviation industry.

CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, said the unique mission-based partnership was the key to creating a new industry for the future energy needs of Australia and the world.

“Australia can become a renewable energy leader through the production, use and export of hydrogen, but it will only become a reality if we breakthrough the A$2/kg barrier,” he said. “That needs Australia’s world class science working with CSIRO’s commercialisation expertise turning breakthrough science into real-world solutions.

“Taking a Team Australia approach is essential to creating the 8,000 jobs and A$11 billion a year in GDP that hydrogen can contribute to Australia’s economy as we build back better from the impacts of COVID-19.”

CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council, Dr Fiona Simon, said the mission came at a critical time for the emerging Australian hydrogen industry.

“We need a coordinated series of investments in industrial-scale research and demonstration activities, along with the supporting research and infrastructure that can bring the technologies that are available and emerging to the industry that needs to deploy them,” she said.

“Focused efforts like the Hydrogen Industry Mission will help realise these goals, and the Hydrogen Council is delighted to be part of it.”

The mission will focus on delivering four key programs of work, some of which have already begun:

  • Hydrogen Knowledge Centre to capture and promote hydrogen projects and industry developments across Australia. The first module, HyResource, was launched in September with NERA, the Future Fuels CRC and The Australian Hydrogen Council;
  • Feasibility and strategy studies to deliver trusted advice to government, industry and the community. This builds on recent hydrogen cost modelling and barrier analysis provided as part of developing the National Hydrogen Strategy;
  • Demonstration projects that validate hydrogen value chains and de-risk enabling technologies. Development is underway at a new facility in Clayton, Victoria, with Swinburne University and the Victorian Government; and
  • Enabling science and technology through investment in breakthrough science, including a A$20 million partnership with Fortescue which focuses on the development and commercialisation of new hydrogen technologies.

CSIRO Hydrogen Industry Mission Lead, Dr Patrick Hartley, said CSIRO was uniquely placed to drive this collaboration.

“The goal of this mission is to support the vision of a clean and competitive hydrogen industry for Australia by delivering research, development and demonstration partnerships which help make Australia’s hydrogen markets a reality,” he said.

“CSIRO’s unique position at the nexus of research, government, and industry gives us the ability to bring together stakeholders, and our track record of partnering and leveraging research funds means that we are able to grow this new phase of the industry without the need for everyone to do it alone.”

Reedy Lagoon and CSIRO eye alternative resource estimate methodology

Reedy Lagoon Corp says it is working with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to investigate and trial new ways to determine resource estimates that can rely more on geophysics than solely drill hole information.

The ASX-listed explorer has engaged with CSIRO to develop a method of determining magnetite resources using petrophysically-constrained magnetic modelling. The testbed for the research will be Reedy Lagoon’s Burracoppin iron project, in Western Australia, which, the company says, is progressing towards producing green high purity pig iron (HPPI).

The collaboration with CSIRO will use previously drilled core to determine the physical properties (eg magnetisation and density) of the Burracoppin magnetite deposit, and use those results to constrain a detailed 3D magnetic/density model of the mineralisation, Reedy Lagoon said.

Dr Jim Austin, CSIRO Project Leader and Petrophysics Expert, said: “Magnetite resources are unlike any other metal in that the quantity of the resource present (ie iron) has a linear relationship with both density and magnetisation. This means the total iron resource can theoretically be determined to relatively high precision using geophysical methods alone.”

The Burracoppin iron project is seeking to establish an indicated resource of 20-30 Mt of iron concentrate product within the Burracoppin magnetite deposit so that financial projections for the HPPI production can be determined. The deposit is currently identified in detailed airborne magnetic data and three drill holes.

The planned resource definition work is focused in the region between the three drill holes where, as part of the work in establishing a mineral resource, an exploration target has been determined.

“If shown to be successful, the work with CSIRO may lead to a new method of estimating a resource to JORC standards with far less drilling than is currently required, saving much expense and reducing ground disturbance,” Reedy Lagoon said.

The project was made possible through CSIRO Kick-Start, an initiative that provides funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities.

Western Australia puts money behind ‘net zero’ emission mining pledge

Western Australia has committed to its “net zero emission” mining pledge by committing up to A$1.5 million ($1.17 million) in funding for research and development geared towards decarbonising the sector.

Today, Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, launched the first actions of the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia’s (MRIWA) Net Zero Emission Mining Challenge.

This MRIWA challenge aims to reduce the carbon footprint, lower overall energy costs and improve the energy efficiency of the Western Australian mining sector through harnessing collective efforts, enabling decarbonisation to become an opportunity for the sector, not a cost, the MRIWA says.

MRIWA has identified three priority themes representing cross-cutting issues in the mining sector that would benefit from a collaborative approach to addressing the challenge. This includes data-driven decisions, mining and processing technology, and energy utilisation.

A A$1 million competitive funding round opened today to co-fund research proposals that address challenges to reducing emissions in the mining industry.

Additionally, expressions of interest opened for small to medium businesses in the mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector to participate in CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow online program.

The free 10-week program will commence in July and help METS leaders develop innovative solutions to business challenges related to net zero emission mining in Western Australia, the government said.

The Western Australia Government (through MRIWA) is offering A$500,000 (A$20,000-$50,000/grant) to eligible program participants to develop their solutions. These grants require matched funding and will be subject to an application process after the program’s completion, it explained.

Johnston said: “Today’s funding announcement will support the diversification of our state’s economy, and progress research on overcoming the challenges to decarbonise the mining sector. METS are a vital part of the resources sector supply chain, and I encourage all eligible small businesses to apply and play a role in the McGowan Government’s commitment of net zero emissions by 2050.”

Applications for CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow program close on June 28, 2021, and applications for the A$1 million competitive funding round close on July 7, 2021.

NextOre’s magnetic resonance tech up and running at First Quantum’s Kansanshi

Australia-based NextOre is onto another ore sorting assignment with its magnetic resonance (MR) sensing technology, this time in Zambia at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine.

NextOre was originally formed in 2017 as a joint venture between CSIRO, RFC Ambrian and Worley, with its MR technology representing a leap forward in mineral sensing that provides accurate, whole-of-sample grade measurements, it says.

Demonstrated at mining rates of 4,300 t/h, per conveyor belt, the technology comes with no material preparation requirement and provides grade estimates in seconds, NextOre claims. This helps deliver run of mine grade readings in seconds, providing “complete transparency” for tracking downstream processing and allowing operations to selectively reject waste material.

Having initially successfully tested its magnetic resonance analysers (MRAs) at Newcrest’s Cadia East mine in New South Wales, Australia, the company has gone onto test and trial the innovation across the Americas and Asia.

More recently, it set up camp in Africa at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine where it is hoping to show off the benefits of the technology in a trial.

The MRA in question was installed in January on the sulphide circuit’s 2,800 t/h primary crushed conveyor at Kansanshi, with the installation carried out with remote assistance due to COVID-19 restrictions on site.

Anthony Mukutuma, General Manager at First Quantum’s Kansanshi Mine in the Northwestern Province of Zambia, said the operation was exploring the use of MRAs for online ore grade analysis and subsequent possible sorting to mitigate the impacts of mining a complex vein-type orebody with highly variating grades.

“The installation on the 2,800 t/h conveyor is a trial to test the efficacy of the technology and consider engineering options for physical sorting of ore prior to milling,” he told IM.

Chris Beal, NextOre CEO, echoed Mukutuma’s words on grade variation, saying daily average grades at Kansanshi were on par with what the company might see in a bulk underground mine, but when NextOre looked at each individual measurement – with each four seconds representing about 2.5 t – it was seeing some “higher grades worthy of further investigation”.

“The local geology gives it excellent characteristics for the application of very fast measurements for bulk ore sorting,” he told IM.

Mukutuma said the initial aim of the trial – to validate the accuracy and precision of the MRA scanner – was progressing to plan.

“The next phase of the project is to determine options for the MRA scanner to add value to the overall front end of processing,” he said.

Beal was keen to point out that the MRA scanner setup at Kansanshi was not that much different to the others NextOre had operating – with the analyser still measuring copper in the chalcopyrite mineral phase – but the remote installation process was very different.

“Despite being carried out remotely, this installation went smoother than even some where we had a significant on-site presence,” he said. “A great deal of that smoothness can be attributed to the high competency of the Kansanshi team. Of course, our own team, including the sensing and sorting team at CSIRO, put in a huge effort to quickly pivot from the standard installation process, and also deserve a great deal of credit.”

Beal said the Kansanshi team were supplied with all the conventional technical details one would expect – mechanical drawings, assembly drawings, comprehensive commissioning instructions and animations showing assembly.

To complement that, the NextOre team made use of both the in-built remote diagnostic systems standard in each MRA and several remote scientific instruments, plus a Trimble XR10 HoloLens “mixed-reality solution” that, according to Trimble, helps workers visualise 3D data on project sites.

“The NextOre and CSIRO teams were on-line on video calls with the Kansanshi teams each day supervising the installation, monitoring the outputs of the analyser and providing supervision in real time,” Beal said. He said the Kansanshi team had the unit installed comfortably within the planned 12-hour shutdown window.

By the second week of February the analyser had more than 90% availability, Beal said in early April.

He concluded on the Kansanshi installation: “There is no question that we will use the remote systems developed during this project in each project going ahead, but, when it is at all possible, we will always have NextOre representatives on site during the installation process. This installation went very smoothly but we cannot always count on that being the case. And there are other benefits to having someone on site that you just cannot get without being there.

“That said, in the future, we expect that a relatively higher proportion of support and supervision can be done through these remote systems. More than anything, this will allow us to more quickly respond to events on site and to keep the equipment working reliably.”

Gekko installs OLGA, Carbon Scout solutions at Gruyere as part of collaborative project

Gekko Systems, as part of a collaborative project to collect and analyse real-time gold reconciliations and automate gold processing plants, has installed its OLGA and Carbon Scout solutions at the Gruyere gold mine in Western Australia.

In October 2020, METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre announced the consortium of Gold Fields, Orway IQ, CSIRO, Curtin University and Gekko Systems as recipients of the Tranche 4 Collaborative Project Funds. The METS Ignited funding will assist the development of this project.

In a world-first, the project draws together a range of technologies, including the Gekko OLGA and Carbon Scout, and skill sets that are the first step to truly understanding what is happening in a gold production plant in real time and will eventually lead to a fully autonomous gold plant, Gekko said.

Gekko recently installed the OLGA and Carbon Scout at Gruyere (a joint venture between Gold Fields and Gold Road Resources), the site where the project will become reality.

“The Gekko OLGA and Carbon Scout will revolutionise the industry’s ability to measure gold circuit inventory and recovery in real time, move it into the digital world and provide opportunity for full automation,” Gekko said.

OLGA is a world first on-stream analyser designed to continuously read low grade gold grades in slurries and solutions, giving operations the ability to see and control their plants in real time, the company says. The alternative traditional sampling methods involve significant delays – of up to one or two days for feedback.

The Carbon Scout is a self-contained, ground-level sampling system to improve carbon concentration measurements in carbon-in-leach and carbon-in-pulp circuits to an accuracy of ±0.5 grams of carbon per litre of pulp. Uniquely, multiple other data points include slurry density, pH, DO and gold loading on carbon, Gekko explained. Data profiles are provided in every tank, every hour.

“The combination of OLGA and Carbon Scout, supported by the Gekko Sample Delivery System, means all CIL/CIP sampling can be done conveniently and safely at ground level,” it said. “Each tank is sampled by a patented pumpless delivery system. All samples in the plant including leach feed and tails will be delivered through this system to potentially alleviate the need for expensive cross-cut samples.”

The team of Orway IQ will deliver the data through the Trinity program. With the MillROC data system and the Gekko technical team using the data for system analytics.

The ultimate aim of the project is to have gold process and recovery data being analysed within minutes rather than days from anywhere in the world and for production to be adapted to reflect this data, Gekko said.

CSIRO talks up carbon dioxide game changer for low emission mining operations

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, says a next generation supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) powerplant could help accelerate mining operations to low emission outputs and meet large renewable energy targets.

Constructed by the Gas Technologies Institute (GTI), General Electric and other industry partners in the United States, these sCO2 powerplants are being explored in a collaborative program involving CSIRO.

The 10 MW-electric sCO2 pilot plant, currently being constructed in Texas, USA, will demonstrate a fully integrated power cycle that can be easily configured to operation on renewable energy, CSIRO says. When completed in June 2021, it will be the largest sCO2 powerplant demonstration facility of its kind in the world and will represent a significant step toward sCO2 technology commercialisation, it added.

While most powerplants use steam turbines to produce electricity, sCO2 powerplants use high temperature CO2 instead. By avoiding the use of water, advanced sCO2 power plants using renewable energy inputs have significant potential to transition mining operations to a low emission future, CSIRO says.

“The advantage is that sCO2 is a higher density working fluid, which means sCO2 power plants can be smaller, more efficient and not reliant on water for steam and cooling,” it said. “sCO2 powerplants can also be autonomous and operate using a wide range of heat sources.”

This makes such powerplants an ideal candidate to replace diesel generation in off-grid mining operations, as renewable energy can be used to power their operations for longer periods of time.

Many mining companies are committed to transitioning to low emissions technologies and widespread implementation of sCO2 power generation technologies could be a game changer for the mining industry globally and help accelerate the world’s transition to a low carbon future, according to CSIRO.

CSIRO’s partnership in the Gas Technologies Institute Program will improve understanding of how sCO2 powerplants can enable lower and zero emission technology solutions, and how they might be used in remote off-grid mining and community locations as a low-cost alternative to diesel fuel power generation, it said.

The powerplants also provide a potential future replacement for large grid-connected electricity generation.

A renewable energy solution

For CSIRO, the use of concentrated solar thermal (CST) technologies to provide the renewable energy solution for these sCO2 power plants is also a focus. CST technologies capture and store heat, which make it an ideal solution for a sCO2 powerplant. The Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI), which is managed by CSIRO, is leading efforts in this area.

For mining operations, the use of portable, scalable and low-cost thermal energy storage (TES) will be a critical enabler for sCO2 power plants. TES can be used to store heat, which can then be used day or night to run a sCO2 power plant.

The addition of TES can make 24/7 renewable mining operations a reality, CSIRO says. Australia’s TES efforts under the GTI Program will be delivered in partnership with Graphite Energy.

Keith Vining, Research Group Leader for Carbon Steel Materials, CSIRO Mineral Resources, said taking advantage of Australia’s solar resource to operate sCO2 powerplants for the purposes of mineral processing is a positive development.

“Metal production is highly energy intensive,” Vining said. “In most cases metal production from Australia’s mineral resources is performed overseas using traditional fossil fuel energy sources.

“In a low carbon world, there is an opportunity to perform more on-shore processing and replace traditional fossil fuel energy sources with renewable energy resources in the commodity value chain. The use of sCO2 powerplants operating on renewable energy could make this opportunity a reality.”

This research is part of the Joint Industry Partnership of the Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) project known as STEP Demo.

The construction of the STEP project demonstration plant is nearing completion, with equipment installation underway in San Antonio, Texas. It is expected to be operational in mid-2021.

The site will be able to demonstrate performance over a range of operating conditions and allows flexibility to be reconfigured to accommodate ongoing testing and technology optimisation, according to CSIRO.

The supercritical CO2 cycles will be able to operate using a wide range of heat sources, including fossil fuel (natural gas), renewables (concentrated solar, biomass, geothermal), next-generation nuclear, industrial waste heat recovery, and ship-board propulsion.

AVL examining ‘green hydrogen’ potential for vanadium project

Australian Vanadium is making plans to incorporate “green hydrogen” into its mine operations in Western Australia as part of a carbon emission reduction strategy.

Vincent Algar, Managing Director of Australian Vanadium, thinks the use of green hydrogen could allow the company to reduce its carbon footprint and leverage both the economical and environmental benefits of what is a growing market.

“The green steel opportunity is one that Western Australia should particularly embrace, with the potential for many jobs to be created and a globally competitive steel industry,” he said. “This strategy can assist with environmental approvals and in attracting finance partners with an environmental, social and corporate governance focus, for AVL to bring the Australian vanadium project into production.”

The Australian vanadium project is around 40 km south-east of Meekatharra and 740 km north-east of Perth. The proposed project includes open-pit mining, crushing, milling and beneficiation at the Meekatharra site and a processing plant for final conversion to high-quality vanadium pentoxide for use in steel, specialty alloys and battery markets, to be located at a site at Tenindewa, between Mullewa and Geraldton.

The company’s strategy to incorporate hydrogen into the project includes the following areas:

  • Introducing a percentage of green hydrogen into the natural gas feed for the processing plant. The purpose of this is to reduce carbon emissions. This will be analysed fully in the company’s bankable feasibility study;
  • Offtake of ammonia from green hydrogen production for use in the final vanadium precipitation step of processing. The CSIRO is working on an ARENA (the Australian Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency) funded project to develop a production process that does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Powering mine site or haulage vehicles to move material from the mine site to the processing plant with green hydrogen. Hydrogen generation could be undertaken at the mine site and at the processing plant for refuelling. “This is a new area of development for Australia and will need to be fully assessed for its financial implications,” the company said, adding that it is keen to work with the federal and state governments and haulage companies who have a forward plan for this technology;
  • The use of green hydrogen for steel production in the ore reduction step. AVL is seeking partnerships with companies interested in this area as it would be a “noble and efficient use” for the Fe-Ti co-product that the company plans to produce, it said; and
  • Through AVL’s 100% owned subsidiary, VSUN Energy, integrating hydrogen electrolysers in plant design, combined with energy storage utilising vanadium redox flow battery technology. To support the Government of Western Australia’s plans for a green hydrogen economy, AVL has submitted a formal response to the request for expressions of interest for the Oakajee Strategic Industrial Area Renewable Energy Strategy. “Having a project located in the Mid-West region, with a variety of ways for AVL to incorporate green hydrogen means that the company is well-positioned to leverage the emerging hydrogen economy and its financial and environmental benefits,” it said.

AVL says its project is currently one of the highest-grade vanadium projects being advanced globally with 208.2 Mt at 0.74% V₂O₅, containing a high-grade zone of 87.9 Mt at 1.06% V₂O₅, reported in compliance with the JORC Code 2012.

Collaborative project featuring Gold Fields looks to revolutionise gold plant data analysis

Gold Fields, Orway IQ, CSIRO, Curtin University and Gekko Systems have come together to commercialise a complete solution package for collecting and analysing gold plant data in real time.

This is a process that will revolutionise the industry’s ability to measure circuit inventory and recovery in real time, move it into the digital world and provide opportunity for full automation, according to Gekko.

Earlier this month, METS Ignited Industry Growth Centre announced the consortium as recipients of the Tranche 4 Collaborative Project Funds. The METS Ignited funding will assist the development of a system to collect and analyse real-time gold reconciliations and automate gold processing plants by providing the technology, software, skills and expertise to the miners as an integrated package.

“In a world-first, the project draws together a range of technologies and skill sets that are the first step to truly understanding what is happening in a gold production plant in real time and will eventually lead to a fully autonomous gold plant,” Gekko said.

METS Ignited CEO, Adrian Beer, said the project funding is supporting the commercialisation of innovation developed in partnership with industry, research and Australia’s mining equipment technology and services (METS) companies.

“The METS Ignited Collaborative Project Funds are a catalyst for industry collaboration to enable commercial pathways for Australian technology to deliver global results,” he said.

Gold Field’s Processing Projects Coordinator, Matt Dixon, said the value of this collaboration was having information available in real time to make decisions.

“The METS Ignited project is looking to integrate multiple technologies to achieve a step change in the automation and optimisation of gold processing,” he said. “Recent innovations by CSIRO and Curtin University, in partnership with Gekko Systems, are now making the potential to monitor gold in real time a reality.”

Gold Fields has chosen the Gruyere gold mine (owned 50:50 with Gold Road Resources) as the site to install and test these technologies, according to Dixon.

“Combining the OLGA (OnLine Gold Analyser, pictured) and Carbon Scout, with newly developed data capture and analytics technologies, aims to provide a step change to how we measure, monitor and optimise gold recovery,” he said.

This is a “world-first project”, creating a technological capability that does not yet exist anywhere else in the gold sector, according to Dixon.

The project will address current difficulties in accounting for gold during production, lag times in assessing data and adapting procedures to maximise production from the data provided and the safety around a number of those procedures.

The ultimate aim is to have gold process and recovery data being analysed within minutes rather than days from anywhere in the world and for production to be adapted to reflect this data, Gekko said.

Magnetite Mines up for NextOre magnetic resonance ore sorting pilot at Razorback

Having shown potential in lab-based test work to increase head grades at the Razorback project, NextOre’s magnetic resonance (MR) ore sorting technology is to now get an outing in South Australia at the high-grade iron ore development.

Razorback owner, Magnetite Mines, says it has entered into an agreement with NextOre to supply a mobile bulk ore sorting plant using a magnetic resonance (MR) sensor for a trial of the technology at the project.

The company said: “This advances our exclusive partnership with NextOre and is an important step in our journey to unlocking the potential of the Razorback project. The company is excited by the potential of the NextOre technology to enhance processing of by ‘pre-concentrating’ run of mine ore feed to increase plant head grade.”

The NextOre agreement includes a non-refundable deposit of A$100,000 ($71,418) and contemplates further, staged payments of A$700,000, Magnetite Mines says. The scope covers supply of a full-scale mobile ore sorting plant to site at Razorback for sorting magnetite ore using MR technology during the trial period for the purpose of mine feasibility analysis. The agreement includes milestone dates, with the equipment despatch from the CSIRO Lucas Heights facility, in New South Wales, expected in 2021.

Formed in 2017 by CSIRO, Advisian Digital and RFC Ambrian, NextOre supplies MR ore sorting solutions to global mining companies that applies mineral sensing technology developed by the CSIRO.

Unlike traditional ore sorting technologies that are based on X-ray or infra-red transmission, NextOre’s on-belt MR analyser ore sorting solution allows for the grade of high throughput ore to be measured at industry-leading accuracies and speeds, NextOre says. Due to the high speed of the technology, the integrative system is able to perform the analysis, computation and physical diversion of waste ores down to one second intervals allowing for fast diversion or high-resolution sorting.

As previously reported, the company entered into an exclusivity agreement with NextOre granting Magnetite Mines exclusive use of its MR ore sorting technology for any magnetite processing applications Australia-wide and all iron ore applications in the Braemar (including New South Wales) for a period of four years.

Magnetite Mines Chairman, Peter Schubert, said: “NextOre’s magnetic resonance sorting technology, developed over many years in conjunction with the CSIRO, has a rapid response time allowing unprecedented selection accuracy and speed. The result is potential for a substantial increase in the head grade of plant feed, resulting in lower unit operating costs and a significant improvement in capital efficiency.

“This technology also offers potential environmental benefits, with enhanced water efficiency and reduced tailings volumes.”

He added: “We are particularly interested in the potential of the NextOre technology to increase the grade of ore fed to the concentrator. The bulk trial of this exciting technology will contribute to the study work now underway.”

Chris Beal, CEO of NextOre said: “We are enthusiastic supporters of Magnetite Mines’ vision of unlocking the vast resources in South Australia’s Braemar region. Their disciplined approach, which leverages emerging technologies with well-established mining methodologies, is a testament to the team’s knowledge and experience in the field.

“In our collaborative planning, the Magnetite Mines methodology of carefully integrating mine and mill activities speaks strongly to the ability to generate the maximum value from bulk ore sorting solution. I am thrilled that NextOre can contribute to this transformative project and I look forward to jointly developing Australia’s reputation as a global leader in green resource extraction.”