Tag Archives: Kirkland Lake Gold

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.”

Sandvik on the growth path with Artisan as mine electrification takes hold

Sandvik’s Artisan business unit is continuing to ride the battery-electric vehicle wave in mining, having just moved premises in California, USA, to expand its production and testing capabilities.

Based in Camarillo, Artisan has been on a steep growth trajectory since it was established just over a decade ago. Having initially manufactured machines for several OEMs in the mining sector, the company was acquired by Sandvik in 2019. It had revenues of $12.3 million and approximately 60 employees back in 2017.

Both of these numbers have accelerated in line with increased take-up – and an expansion – of its battery-electric solutions for mining since it became a business unit of Sandvik.

Artisan’s 4-t (A4) and 10-t (A10) battery-electric underground loaders have found their way into mines in Canada and the US, while its 50-t Z50 haul truck has found a home in mines in Canada, the US and Australia. One of the bigger deployments has been at the Barrick Gold majority-owned Turquoise Ridge underground mine in Nevada, USA.

More recently, the portfolio was broadened with an 18 t LHD called the LH518B. This machine is the first true collaborative design effort between Sandvik and Artisan, marrying Sandvik’s underground mining engineering expertise with the Artisan™ battery system and electric driveline to “best leverage the possibilities that the battery technology brings”, the companies say.

This machine’s first deployment will be at a gold mine in British Columbia, Canada, but Artisan has also booked several orders for it in Australia, one of these being for Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville gold mine, in Victoria.

With a range of new battery-powered equipment in the pipeline, Artisan has moved into a larger facility in California that will help it build these new vehicles from the ground up.

“We’re definitely growing in Camarillo,” Artisan’s Vice President of Technology, Brian Huff, told IM recently. “The move to a larger facility comes at the same time we are ramping up a lot of hiring in terms of engineering and manufacturing personnel.”

Artisan’s new facility comes with a test ramp with a 20% grade and a whole area for mucking on the property (pictured above).

“This will allow us to do a lot more development testing in a short period of time, giving us an advantage in terms of validation testing and trials of new designs and tools,” Huff said.

The potential for speeding up Artisan’s time to market will be increasingly important as more mines replenish fleets with battery-electric equipment.

As COVID-19-related restrictions ease, expect the new testing facility – and the manufacturing plant – to be regularly frequented by mining companies eyeing these new solutions.

Kirkland Lake Gold boosts Macassa battery-powered fleet with Artisan Z50s

With production at the Macassa gold mine in Ontario, Canada, set to ramp up over the next three years, Kirkland Lake Gold is, once again, bulking up its fleet of battery-electric equipment.

In its just released December quarter results, the company confirmed it recently purchased five 50-t battery-powered underground haul trucks for the operation, with the first already delivered in the current quarter.

The loaders in question are Artisan Z50s, which have a 50-t payload and are equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack.

Macassa is a first adopter of battery-electric equipment, testing out early protoype versions of machines and now having a large fleet of trucks and LHDs from the likes of Artisan and Epiroc.

Kirkland Lake has big plans for Macassa, with the #4 Shaft project underpinning much of the planned growth.

In the quarterly results, the company said the shaft advanced 875 ft (277 m) in the three months ending December 31, having now reached a depth of 4,240 ft. Kirkland Lake said the project, which will see the shaft sunk to a depth of 6,400 ft in one phase, was around one month ahead of schedule at the end of 2020. Project completion was targeted for late 2022.

Macassa produced 183,037 oz of gold in 2020, down from 241,297 oz in 2019, following COVID-19-related changes. The company expects the mine to ramp up over the next three years, reaching 400,000-420,000 oz in 2023 following completion of the #4 Shaft.

Artisan battery-powered Z50 truck on its way to Kirkland Lake’s Macassa gold mine

Kirkland Lake Gold says it is expecting to receive a 50 t battery-powered Z50 underground haul truck at its Macassa gold mine, in Ontario, Canada, this quarter, following a purchase agreement signed last year.

The gold miner’s Macassa operation has been a leading adopter of new electric equipment and already has four 40 t battery-powered machines at the underground mine. These are matched by many battery-powered LHDs made by likes of Artisan Vehicle Systems and Epiroc.

The latest 50 t vehicle will come from Artisan, a Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions business unit.

The Z50 haul truck is a ground-up design that seamlessly integrates the most capable and proven battery-electric powertrain available in the mining industry with the latest and most coveted features of any haul truck on the market today, according to Sandvik. The 50 t machine is based off the existing design for the Z40 truck, which Artisan released back in 2018, but features a stretched rear frame (close to 19 in).

It is equipped with AutoSwap, a patented self-swapping system for the Artisan battery pack. This makes battery swapping faster and easier with a minimum amount of manual handling: changing the battery only takes about six minutes, and it can be done in a passing bay or old re-muck bay with no overhead cranes or external infrastructure needed, Sandvik says.

The news of the pending arrival of this electric vehicle came at the same time as Kirkland Lake released its 2020 production results. The company produced 369,434 oz of gold in the December quarter to make a total of 1.37 Moz of gold in 2020, 41% higher than the total in 2019, which was in line with its full-year 2020 guidance of 1.35-1.4 Moz.

Maptek scanners, software boosts efficiency and safety at Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville mine

Maptek’s underground laser scanners and software have been helping geology and geotechnical engineering teams save time and monitor safety at Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville mine in Victoria, Australia.

At the underground mine, the geology team use two SR3 laser scanners and the PointStudio software for structural mapping and identifying structures.

“They primarily focus on scanning the ore drive development headings and then analyse the data and do the mapping in PointStudio,” Fosterville Project Rock Mechanics Engineer, Corey McKenzie, says.

The Maptek SR3 is a dedicated underground laser scanner, with a scan window of 130° vertically and 360° horizontally for capturing roofs and walls in tunnels and underground drives.

With fast accurate sensing and tailored mount accessories, the SR3 can be operated remotely from any web-enabled device and combines well with modelling software PointStudio for improving overall productivity and safety underground, Maptek says.

“PointStudio has a lot of neat tools,” McKenzie says. “Smart Query is useful for extracting joint set data, and the Distance for Objects feature can be used for fibrecrete thickness analysis.”

The geotechnical team uses ZEB scanners for convergence checks and it is, Maptek says, excited about the potential of Maptek workflows to streamline and save time in convergence monitoring.

The Workflow Editor incorporates software menu items, command line executables and scripting capabilities with Maptek Workbench tools and custom components to automate processes.

McKenzie says cloud-to-cloud comparison using laser scan data in PointStudio is all about safety.

“We want to know if the walls or backs are moving,” McKenzie said. “If we notice a spot that is starting to deform, we scan it more regularly so we’ve got that constant update of data and can track how it’s moving and the rate of deformation. We can then make decisions about rehabilitation. And we also need to know when our ground support capacity is going to be consumed.”

When PointStudio was introduced at the site this year, McKenzie found it relatively easy to learn, appreciating the visual layout of the options along the top ribbon, Maptek said.

The Fosterville geotechnical team is looking to expand its usage of PointStudio and expects the new scanline mapping tool in the latest version to help rockmass classification, according to the company.

“We’re just starting to explore the geotech/rock mechanics aspects,” McKenzie said. “Maptek is always willing to answer questions.”

The site also recently completed a trial of Maptek monitoring solution, Sentry.

“Now that we’ve tested Sentry and know its capabilities, we’ll be confident down the track if there’s an area that we want to monitor more closely,” McKenzie concluded.

Kirkland Lake Gold to trial battery-powered Sandvik LH518B at Fosterville

Kirkland Lake Gold, one of the leaders in battery-electric vehicle adoption in mining, is to trial a Sandvik LH518B LHD next year at its Fosterville underground mine, in Victoria, Australia, Rob McLean, the operation’s Chief Mining Engineer, has confirmed.

Speaking during a session titled: ‘What are Fosterville’s Current and Future Technology and Innovation Requirements, and Why?’ at the IMARC Online event, McLean said the trial is part of the company’s vision to “have a fully electric mine”, with the immediate goals being to remove diesel emissions and reduce heat at the operation.

Longer-term, electrifying the company’s fleet could result in the need for less ventilation, lower power costs and the elimination of infrastructure upgrades at the high-grade gold operation, he said.

Sandvik launched the 18 t battery-electric LH518B during its Innovation in Mining event in late September.

The loader, a Sandvik and Artisan Vehicle Systems joint development effort, has been designed from the ground up, entirely around the loader’s Artisan™ battery system and electric driveline to best leverage the possibilities the battery technology brings, Sandvik says. It can fit in a 4.5 x 4.5 m tunnel and is equipped with three 2,000 Nm permanent magnet motors and 450 kN of tractive effort. It can operate at speeds of up to 30 km/h and has 560 kW of continuous power output (peak power output of 660 kW).

McLean said the trial of the LH518B would inform the mine’s future electrification direction, but he said the company was also considering the use of battery-electric or trolley assist trucks at the operation, in addition to battery-electric charging/spraying rigs.

Kirkland Lake says its Macassa mine, in Ontario, Canada, is a “world leader in the use of battery-powered equipment” with more than 80% of its fleet made up of battery-powered vehicles from the likes of Artisan, Epiroc and RDH Scharf.

Sandvik and Northern College to help train BEV service technicians of the future

Sandvik and Ontario’s Northern College have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to, they say, work collaboratively to enhance existing battery technician training modules, and develop a new program to educate service technicians and support the growing requirement for specialised battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technicians in the mining industry.

The Northern College Battery Electric Vehicle Technician training program for service technicians should prepare them for employment in this field.

BEVs are increasing in popularity in the Canadian mining industry due to the improvements they offer in operating environments, maintenance costs, efficiency and productivity, yet specialised BEV technicians are required to support the growing fleet of BEVs in Canada.

“It’s important to be aware of the fact that the technology powering battery-electric vehicles is considerably different than that of diesel machines,” Dr Audrey J Penner, President and CEO of Northern College, said of the new technology.

“Servicing and maintaining these fleets requires a different skillset than what is required for a diesel-powered fleet because BEVs have fewer mechanical components and more electrical components. For that reason, the Canadian mining industry requires a new generation of service technicians who are trained in servicing electrically-powered machinery and Northern College is responding to that call for talent and training.”

Northern College and the Haileybury School of Mines will develop a program with Sandvik and their partners to educate participants in BEV technology. Sandvik will serve as a subject matter expert on the topic of BEVs in a mining application to ensure program graduates are educated in areas relevant for the mining industry.

Peter Corcoran, Vice President Canada, Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology, said: “This program is really a win-win for a cleaner industry while also supporting resource development in the communities close to the mines using BEV technology.

“We are investing in educating this next generation of service specialists because we forecast an increase in demand for technicians in the BEV field as more operations transition to zero-emissions equipment. We also want to invest in the local talent pool as the benefits of hiring locally and developing sustainable capacity in the community cannot be understated. This partnership addresses both of those areas.”

One industry proponent of BEVs in mining is Kirkland Lake Gold, which has deployed many battery-powered units at its Macassa gold mine in Ontario.

“Using BEVs at our Macassa Mine benefits us in a number of ways, including significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving working conditions and reducing capital requirements for ventilation,” Evan Pelletier, Kirkland Lake Gold’s Vice President of Mining, said.

Pelletier explains that Kirkland Lake Gold was among the first to bring electrification to the mining industry and the company has seen significant improvements in BEV technology in a relatively short timeframe.

Based on Kirkland Lake’s experience, Pelletier believes the participation of both original equipment manufacturer and mining companies in the development of a technician training program will be an important contributor to the program’s success.

“Working with colleges will help Kirkland Lake Gold further develop our technicians in this field,” Pelletier explains. “The program will not only develop new technicians, it will help to establish BEV standards in the industry that will lead the way for future advancements.”

Clean TeQ DESALX plant up and running at Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville gold mine

Clean TeQ Holdings Limited has formally handed over a Continuous Ion Exchange Desalination (DESALX®) plant to Kirkland Lake Gold’s Fosterville gold mine in Victoria, Australia.

Clean TeQ says it was engaged to design, supply and commission a two million litre-per-day Clean TeQ DESALX mine water treatment plant, with the plant designed to deliver a sustainable water management solution by treating mine process water.

The plant construction was completed in late 2019, with commissioning and operations commencing in early 2020. Now, Clean TeQ has confirmed the plant has passed the performance tests specified in the engineering, procurement and construction contract and the customer has issued a formal notice of acceptance and completion, it said.

Sam Riggall, Clean TeQ CEO, said: “After successfully demonstrating the world’s first ever commercial scale CIF plant in Oman late last year, this is yet another moment of great significance for Clean TeQ.

“Confirmation of the successful deployment of our innovative DESALX solution for this application, designed and delivered by Clean TeQ, is strong validation of our proprietary continuous ion exchange technology, and provides us with a firm foothold in the mining waste water treatment market from which we can continue to grow the business.”

The DESALX technology consists of two continuous ionic filtration (CIF®) modules in series removing divalent cations and anions present in the water through complementary processes. The modules contain ion exchange resins that are cycled between columns using air lifts, allowing for continuous operation and regeneration of the system. This system increases impurity removal efficiency, reduces chemical use, and provides protection against fouling, according to Clean TeQ.

The DESALX solution is well suited to purification of difficult to treat waste waters with high hardness, sulphate, and heavy metals as well as suspended solids which can foul reverse osmosis membranes. These types of waste waters are common in the mining industry, including acid mine drainage water, the company explained.

At Fosterville, the equipment provided by Clean TeQ includes a precipitation package to remove antimony and arsenic. The effluent from the clarifiers is treated by the DESALX plant to remove sulphate, calcium and magnesium with gypsum as the only by-product. The DESALX effluent is then further treated by reverse osmosis to produce water for re-use.

“The Clean TeQ system is a key enabling component of the customer’s overall water management strategy which includes a medium-term target of creating a true ‘zero liquid discharge’ solution that does not produce any saline brine and includes aquifer reinjection,” Clean TeQ said.

Clean TeQ Water is now focused on completing one additional key project at a copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and a number of pilot programs in China.

“This Clean TeQ system, as well as the plants recently completed in Oman and Australia, are the first of their type anywhere in the world and have been deployed as part of three different technical solutions,” the company said. “The successful delivery and commissioning of these plants provides strong demonstration of the efficacy of Clean TeQ’s suite of proprietary ion exchange technologies and their versatility for metal extraction and wastewater treatment. As commercial scale plants, the facilities provide a valuable platform from which to now rapidly grow Clean TeQ Water.”

Chrysos PhotonAssay unit delivered to Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville gold mine

Kirkland Lake Gold is to install a Chrysos PhotonAssay unit at its Fosterville mine, in Victoria, Australia, as it looks to simplify, speed up and improve its mineral assaying process.

The agreement with Chrysos has seen the unit delivered to Fosterville, with the installation to be fully operational by early October.

Originally developed at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, PhotonAssay delivers faster, more accurate gold analysis, Chrysos says, being a quantitative, chemistry-free replacement for fire assay on-site and in the laboratory.

“Hitting samples with high-energy X-rays, the technology causes excitation of atomic nuclei allowing enhanced analysis of gold, silver, and complementary elements in as little as two minutes,” the company says. “Importantly, Chrysos PhotonAssay 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 process is completely non-destructive, and all samples can be retained for further testing or analysis if required.”

Wess Edgar, Chief Geologist for Kirkland Lake Gold in Australia, said: “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.

“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.”

Fosterville is one of the highest grade gold mines operating across the industry, having produced 619,000 oz in 2019 at an average grade of 39.6 g/t.

PhotonAssay’s latest market success has drawn a positive response from CSIRO’s Chief Executive, Dr Larry Marshall, according to Chrysos.

“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,” Dr Marshall said.

Highlighting the benefits of PhotonAssay for miners, Chrysos CEO, Dirk Treasure, stated: “Our PhotonAssay installations provide single-touch operation and improved safety outcomes, whilst also reducing labour requirements and the potential for human error. The technology’s fast turnaround on high sample volumes provides customers with time-critical operational data and drives optimisation through their entire value chain.

“We are seeing increasing interest in Chrysos PhotonAssay from both laboratories and miners. Recent developments across the sector are driving a desire for technological solutions that deliver measurable productivity gains and true competitive advantage. This is an exciting time, not just for us, but for the entire industry.”

On Site Laboratory Services, a company based in Bendigo, will staff and operate the unit at Fosterville on behalf of Kirkland Lake Gold, Chrysos said.

Quebec miners shut down operations following COVID-19 government order

The latest provincial government-mandated restrictions to address the COVID-19 situation have seen miners down tools at operations in Quebec, Canada.

Announced on March 23, the order was for the shutdown of all non-essential businesses and services for a period of three weeks, starting on midnight on March 24.

While mining was listed as one of the priority services, those in the mining sector have been instructed to minimise activities.

Yamana Gold, which along with Agnico Gold Mines’ jointly owns the Canadian Malartic mine (pictured), said it would ramp down operations at the mine following discussions with representatives of the Government of Quebec to “obtain additional clarity in regard to the order”.

The operation, Canada’s largest gold mine, will be on care and maintenance and minimal work will be taking place until the date specified in the order (April 13), it said.

Yamana said it was demobilising employees and contractors in a safe and orderly manner, leaving only a small number of employees on site to maintain property and equipment and oversee all environmental responsibilities and obligations.

“A return to full capacity at Canadian Malartic is expected to occur in an expedited manner as soon as the temporary restriction is lifted,” it said.

Yamana’s partner, Agnico Eagle Mines, also announced its LaRonde Complex and Goldex Mine, in the Abitibi region of Quebec, would be ramped down in an orderly fashion while ensuring the safety of employees and the sustainability of the infrastructure.

“Each of these operations are to be placed on care and maintenance until April 13, 2020, and, as instructed, minimal work will take place during that time,” the company said.

With its Meliadine and Meadowbank mining operations in Nunavut being serviced out of Quebec, it said it will also slow activities there.

Eldorado Gold, meanwhile, has temporarily minimised operations at its Lamaque underground mine until April 13.

As of today, it will ramp down operational activity and maintain only essential personnel on site responsible for maintaining appropriate health, safety, security and environmental systems, it said.

“The company remains committed to resuming operations in a timely manner once the suspension is lifted,” Eldorado Gold added.

The news came on the same day it announced the receipt of a Certificate of Authorization from the Quebec Ministry of Environment to allow for the expansion of underground production from the Triangle deposit at Lamaque from 1,800 t/d to 2,650 t/d, once operations resume. This expansion could see annual average gold production rise to 170,000 oz, from close to 130,000 oz.

Hecla Mining has also slowed operations at its Casa Beradi gold mine in the province, with the company saying it will have limited operations in place to protect the facilities and environment while the suspension is ongoing.

Rio Tinto, which operates aluminium operations in the province, said it was working with the government to comply with its directive.

“Rio Tinto understands that the Quebec government has designated industrial complexes including the aluminium sector and the mining industry as essential industries but instructed that they must reduce their business activity to the minimum,” it said.

Over the border in Ontario, there has been a more mixed response to the COVID-19 situation, led by the provincial government taking a different tack to politicians in Quebec.

Some mines, such as Kirkland Lake Gold’s Detour Lake operation and Wesdome Gold Mines‘ Eagle River complex, have reduced the amount of workers on site, whereas others like Newmont (at Musselwhite) have put operations into care and maintenance mode.

Ontario’s government has issued a similar notice to its neighbour about non-essential businesses, but its definition is different.

Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products, including metals such as copper, nickel and gold, and that support supply chains in northern Ontario including mining operations, production and processing; mineral exploration and development; and mining supply and services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety, are all considered ‘essential’.

This extends beyond mining companies, too, with Maestro Digital Mine one of the recent Ontario-based suppliers to confirm it was “deemed an essential service”. It said it would continue to provide support to the underground mining sector, “keeping miners safe with gas sensors and airflow sensors” during this time.