Kirkland Lake Gold has acquired a Chrysos PhotonAssay system for its Fosterville mine in Australia.

Adelaide, South Australia-based Chrysos describes PhotonAssay as 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, according to the company, which bought the technology in 2016 from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

Chrysos said PhotonAssay allows samples 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 said to be 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 to 20 times larger than existing fire assay,” he explained, “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.”

Kirkland Lake Gold has three operations: the Fosterville mine in Victoria, Australia, and the Macassa and Detour Lake mines in Northern Ontario, Canada. Operating since 2005, and with a 2019 production of 619,316 ounces (oz), the Fosterville underground mine near Bendigo, is the largest gold producer in Victoria.

Chrysos said the PhotonAssay unit for Fosterville has been delivered and is expected to be fully operational by early October. On Site Laboratory Services in Bendigo will staff and operate the unit on behalf of the mine.