World demand for gold is unquenchable, driving mining companies to develop many new mining projects in Australia and overseas. Australia has the largest gold reserves in the world, with more than 16 per cent of global gold totalling 9100 tonnes at the end of 2015.
Australian annual gold exports were valued $16 billion in 2015–16 – more than the combined exports from beef, wine, wool and cheese – in a global market worth more than $150 billion. Australia is also the world’s second-largest gold producer after China, with 282 tonnes of production in 2015–16, the highest level in 13 years. This makes Australia a key player in the global gold industry. Most gold in Australia is refined locally before being exported.
Old and new projects are mining gold grades that were considered uneconomic as recently as 10 years ago. Optimal mine planning and downstream processing of ore is essential for these projects.
That’s why, as a key component to mine planning and processing, CSIRO has developed two unique analysis and sensor-based technologies to measure gold rapidly at parts-per-million and sub-parts-per-million levels. These technologies will help the gold industry to recover more value from ore for use in gold processing and mining. One is based on a radical new way to deploy X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and available through Gekko Systems. The other is based on gamma activation analysis (GAA), now marketed as PhotonAssay, and was launched in late 2016 via a new company, Chrysos.