Safer gold analysis on the cards at Ravenswood

Ravenswood Gold will focus on safer gold analysis with the installation of a purpose-built PhotonAssay facility.

The facility, which comes from Chrysos Corporation, will be installed at its namesake gold mine in Queensland.

Chrysos’ PhotonAssay technology was developed in collaboration with the CSIRO as an environmentally-friendly alternative to fire assays.

Ravenswood chief executive Brett Fletcher outlined the many benefits afforded by the PhotonAssay technology.

“For us, the significant safety and sustainability benefits combined with low cost, high efficiency and lightning turnaround times delivers all the outcomes we are driving for,” Fletcher said.

“The team at Ravenswood is excited to be partnering with Chrysos on the establishment of this high technology facility right in the heart of the mine site.”

The 153-year-old Ravenswood gold mine is 130 kilometres south of Townsville and has been approved to expand production towards 210,000 ounces of gold per year until 2032.

Fletcher said faster and more accurate assay results would have a significant effect on the future of the historic mine.

“Being able to assay 500 to 1000 samples per day of our grade control drilling, metallurgical sampling and exploration drilling will support us in creating a mining and mineral processing hub we believe will be operating for decades,” Fletcher said.

The technology works by subjecting mined samples with high-energy X-rays which excites the atomic nuclei and allows for rapid analysis in about two minutes.

The non-destructive process allows samples of up to 500 grams to be measured, according to Chrysos.

Chrysos chief executive Dirk Treasure said the use of this technology could be integral to a mine’s growth and development.

“The adoption of PhotonAssay on site at the mine reflects Ravenswood’s proactive approach to achieving excellence through technology, and we look forward to working with them as they achieve their operational and sustainability goals,” Treasure said.

The technology was first developed between Chrysos and the CSIRO in 2016 in the first major development in gold assaying in centuries, according to the CSIRO.

In February, Treasure said the technology had been developed not only with the CSIRO but with contributions from the wider industry.

“We’ve also built strong working relationships with our manufacturing partner Nuctech, and Perenti (formerly Ausdrill) on the customer side to make sure the solution met our prospective customers’ needs,” Treasure said.

PhotonAssay has also been implemented at Barrick Gold’s Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania – the first international installation of the technology.

Earlier in November, Chrysos partnered with SGS, a leading testing, inspection, and certification company, and agreed to install the technology at SGS’s Australian Minerals Regional Hub in Perth.

SGS general manager for natural resources in Australia, Juan Smith, said this technology epitomised what SGS was looking to achieve for the mining industry.

“We are continually looking at how we can revolutionise the mining sector through the adoption of disruptive technology and automation,” Smith said.

“This new partnership with Chrysos reflects and reinforces our commitment to sustainability and improved service delivery.”

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