Tag Archives: PhotonAssay

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.”

Chrysos Corp completes PhotonAssay hat-trick at MinAnalytical Lab

Following on from the successful commissioning of its second PhotonAssay Max system earlier this year, Chrysos Corp says it has now completed commissioning of a third PhotonAssay Max system at the MinAnalytical laboratory in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

The Chrysos PhotonAssay solution provides rapid, accurate, safe and non-destructive ore grade analysis and, with the installation of this new system, MinAnalytical’s Kalgoorlie facility now has the security of double-redundancy and the capacity to service customers with fast turnaround on up to 100,000 samples per month, Chrysos said.

The technology, which was developed by CSIRO, slashes the time it takes to analyse a drilling sample from days to hours, according to Chrysos, and is an alternative to the traditional fire assay process. It represents a chemical-free approach to material analysis that gives accurate results in minutes and uses a larger sample size than fire assay, with reduced sample preparation.
A further benefit is that the new process enables the sample to be tested repeatedly if required – unlike fire assay, which involves the destruction of the sample, the company says.

Arriving in Kalgoorlie in late October, the new PhotonAssay Max was installed by Chrysos and its manufacturing partner, Nuctech, and completed site acceptance testing in mid-November, with final sign-off occurring earlier this month.

“With NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accreditation of the new system expected in 2020, and a fully-automated sample preparation solution from Scott Automation incorporated by May, MinAnalytical’s Kalgoorlie laboratory represents the cutting edge of gold analysis and reporting,” the company said.

Chrysos was formed in 2016 in partnership between CSIRO and RFC Ambrian for the purpose of commercialising the PhotonAssay technology. Ausdrill has invested in Chrysos and is assisting in commercialising the company’s technology. Ausdrill, through its subsidiary MinAnalytical, was the first company in the world to offer the technology to mining companies.

NextOre to ramp up bulk ore sorting sensor development with new funds

NextOre says it has raised A$2 million ($1.35 million) in a private funding round primarily to ramp up manufacturing and sales of its flagship bulk ore sorting sensor system.

The company’s products apply magnetic resonance (MR) technology, used for decades in medical MRI machines, to deliver real-time information about ore that miners can use for decision making.

Copper-detecting MR Analysers have been installed globally at mines in Latin America and Australia, with more scheduled for installation this year. While NextOre is focusing initially on copper sorting applications, the MR technology is applicable to a list of other commodities including iron ore and gold, according to NextOre. Funds raised will be used to grow the company’s global footprint from its existing customer base, the company said.

The MR Analyser is the result of nearly 15 years of research and development carried out by CSIRO Minerals Resources. NextOre, a spinoff from CSIRO, is now a partnership between CSIRO and RFC Ambrian, with the two joined by Advisian Digital.

Chris Beal, CEO of NextOre, said: “With this technology, miners will be able to mine more intelligently. Miners have historically innovated by going bigger – bigger trucks, bigger processing facilities, bigger mines – they’ve been forced to do this because there hasn’t been a technology that would allow them to look at the rock while it’s being mined, see how much metal is in it, and then efficiently make a decision on whether to keep it or throw it away.”

He said the company’s technology will enable miners to produce more metal using “smaller, more efficient plants” that consume less electricity, water and chemicals in the process.

Beal continued: “This is truly disruptive technology for the mining space, and it’s brought about by a team at CSIRO with a world-class track record. This is the same group that was instrumental in developing XRF for the minerals industry in the 1960s and 1970s, who developed on-stream ash analysers in use across the coal industry, and who developed the cutting edge PhotonAssay technology that’s now replacing fire assay.”

thyssenkrupp brings PhotonAssay technology to Africa mining sector

thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions South Africa says it has been appointed the official reseller of ground-breaking PhotonAssay™ technology from Chrysos Corp.

The novel X-ray technology is poised to revolutionise the field of gold analysis, replacing traditional methods such as fire-assay in many applications, and providing accurate and fully-automated gold measurements in mineral ores in just a couple of minutes.

The world-first PhotonAssay unit, installed in a commercial Perth, Western Australia laboratory, recently passed two milestones; completing its first 50,000 analyses and receiving ISO 17025 accreditation. The owner of MinAnalytical Laboratory Services will establish a major new analytical facility in early-2019 providing PhotonAssay services in Kalgoorlie, the heart of Australia’s gold mining industry.

MinAnalytical’s General Manager, Gary Wheeler, said: “For our customers, it means the system has been validated and fully tested, and they can rest assured they will receive accurate results which have been benchmarked against fire assay.”

Originally developed by scientists at the CSIRO, Australia’s national research agency, PhotonAssay uses high-power X-rays to activate and measure gold atoms in mineral samples. Compared with conventional X-ray Fluorescence, the much higher energies used in PhotonAssay allow true-bulk measurements of large samples independent of their physical or chemical form, the company said.

Marius Combrinck, thyssenkrupp Product Manager RT Sales and Marketing Minerals, explained how the PhotnAssay technology works: “PhotonAssay hits samples with high-energy X-rays from a linear accelerator. These X-rays force any gold atoms present in the sample into an excited state that lasts for a few seconds. Subsequently, a sensitive detector system measures the gamma-ray signals given off by these atoms as they relax. Processing software relates the gamma-ray signature back to the gold concentration.”

Combrinck pointed out that the gamma-ray energy is different for each element, allowing gold to be accurately distinguished from other metals that may be present.

Samples to be assayed are packaged into standardised plastic jars that are sealed and barcoded, remaining in the jars throughout the analysis process. “As the method is non-destructive, samples are returned unchanged, and can be safely handled, disposed of or sent for further testing as required,” thyssenkrupp said.

The large sample size – typically about 500 g – significantly reduces sample preparation requirements. Recent testing has demonstrated that for most materials, crushing samples to 2-3 mm is enough to enable accurate sampling and analysis. For coarse gold deposits, the 10-fold increase in sample size compared with conventional fire-assay is particularly advantageous, according to the company.

PhotonAssay units are designed for rapid deployment to both centralised and mine site laboratories anywhere in the world. Systems are fully containerised, allowing them to be factory tested and then packaged for shipping and on-site installation.

The modular design of the PhotoAssay unit lends great flexibility. In addition to onsite installations, thyssenkrupp also has the capabilities so run the lab from its Johannesburg head office. “As we are the face of this technology in Africa, we can sell the technology to existing laboratories or directly to a customer,” Combrinck said. He added that thyssenkrupp will provide after-sales service and support to customers and end users on the continent.

The X-ray source used is fully electronic and contains no radioisotopes. PhotonAssay units comply with international safety standards and, due to their high levels of automation, can be operated by staff with minimal training, according to thyssenkrupp. Combrinck added that management of the PhotoAssay unit requires only two staff members, freeing up personnel to attend to other tasks.

The potential for near real-time gold assays is generating strong interest in on-site installations. With a typical detection limit of 0.03 parts per million, a measurement time of two to three minutes and the ability to measure crushed ore, process pulps, concentrates, carbon materials and solutions with equal ability, a mine site PhotonAssay unit can provide rapid information to support resource definition, mine planning and process control, thyssenkrupp said.

A throughput of more than 1,600 samples per day provides enough capacity for even the largest operations, while a significant reduction in skilled labour requirements is an additional benefit for remote sites.

Although developed primarily for gold analysis, the PhotonAssay technology can measure a wide range of other elements. Silver and copper assay services will be added during 2019 and an extension to other metals is planned for this year, thyssenkrupp said.

The company plans to discuss PhotonAssay technology on February 5 and February during its three-day thyssenkrupp Technology Sessions held alongside Mining Indaba 2019.