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The Fosterville operation. Image: Kirkland Lake Gold

Kirkland Lake Gold has signed a deal to install Chrysos PhotonAssay technology for faster and more accurate gold analysis at the Fosterville mine in Victoria, Australia.

Chrysos is an Australian company that provides novel assay technology — Chrysos PhotonAssay — which was developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The technology is a quantitative, chemistry-free solution that replaces fire assaying, by crushing an optionally-dry sample to two millimetres, placing it inside a jar, and using the PhotonAssay to receive a quantitative analysis in less than three minutes.

Kirkland Lake chief geologist Wess Edgar said the PhotonAssay method has a number of advantages.

“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,” he said.

Chrysos PhotonAssay also allows for large samples of up to 500 grams to be measured, and is completely non-destructive, allowing samples to be reused if needed.

“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,” Edgar added.

The PhotonAssay unit has already been delivered to Fosterville, with the installation expected to be operational by early October, with on-site laboratory services in Bendigo deployed to operate the unit.

“Chrysos was created because we saw a lot of potential for the mining industry in a nugget of Australian research, and by getting out of the lab and creating a prototype that Chrysos could take to market, CSIRO can reinvest gains from venture into the next generation of breakthroughs from science for Australian industries,” CSIRO chief executive doctor Larry Marshall said.

“It’s also rewarding to see this Aussie technology chosen by a global leader like Kirkland Lake, which will see our research improving the efficiency and environmental sustainability of the industry around the world.”

The Fosterville gold mine had a 2019 production of 619,316 ounces of gold and is the largest gold producer in Victoria.