Coghill, Cutmore, Carter, Millen, Haarlem
Presented at the Preconcentration Digital Conference November 2020
Due to the low concentration of gold, ore sorting for gold has always required measuring indirect properties, such as density or colour, to allow separation on a rock by rock basis. This only works on an ad hoc, by deposit basis and is likely to be least reliable where it is most required in low grade ores. One candidate technique, Gamma Activation Analysis (GAA) has been demonstrated to directly measure gold extremely accurately in powder samples of around 500gm and is used in the Chrysos PhotonAssay assay system. This method uses a linear accelerator (linac) to generate the X-ray radiation that activates the ore at low levels to emit a characteristic gold gamma ray that is then measured by a radiation detector. CSIRO is adapting this measurement technique to application on a belt at up to 800tph to measure pods of ore.
The principal differences between measuring samples and an on-line measurement of pods are the requirement to measure coarse ore (<50mm), to measure a larger volume of ore as uniformly as possible, and to have an open-ended geometry with adequate shielding of the linac radiation source. These issues have all been addressed with measurements of coarse ore reported down to around 1ppm in sub-optimal test conditions. They have been demonstrated for <75mm particles with detectors capable of measuring a large volume geometry continuously. These are projected to allow measurements down to 0.3ppm in more optimum conditions for a 10 second measurement time period where the U/Th content of the ore is less than ~10ppm.
Extensive Monte Carlo modelling has demonstrated that adequate shielding can be provided in relatively simple geometries with only 1 right angle transfer in the material handling. Steady progress is being made to reach the technical position required to trial an ore sorting system.
P Coghill1, N G Cutmore2, I Carter3, M Millen4 and Y V Haarlem5
The authors wish to thank CRC-ORE for its support for early stage work on the project, Anglogold Ashanti and Newcrest for supplying the coarse ore samples, and Gannet Holdings for providing the CRMs.
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