Powerful x-rays can now be used to rapidly and accurately detect gold in ore samples, thanks to a fancy new technique our scientists have developed.
We’re pretty excited about this, because it means mining companies will be able to recover small traces of gold that would otherwise be discarded.
Given that a gold processing plant may only recover between 65 and 85 per cent of gold present in mined rock, these wasted traces of gold add up pretty quickly – to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
The new technique, known as gamma activation analysis, works by blasting mineral samples using high-energy x-rays similar to those used to treat patients in hospitals. The x-rays activate any gold in the sample, which is then picked up using a sensitive detector.
You can read all about it in this media release.