The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 3 5 LEADING DEVELOPMENTS A powerful x-ray technology is revoluঞonising a 500-year-old method for detecঞng and analysing unseen gold, with the world-first adopঞon by major Australian mining services company, Ausdrill. Developed by Australia's naঞonal science agency CSIRO and brought to market by Chrysos Corporaঞon, photon analyses is a faster, safer and more environmentally-friendly alternaঞve to the convenঞonal fire assay technique for gold analysis. Fully automated, it dramaঞcally reduces the turnaround ঞme on assays from days to minutes, providing criঞcal data to miners on gold grades in near real-ঞme to support operaঞonal decisions. A[er recognising the technology's potenঞal, CSIRO research program director Nick Cutmore said they partnered with investors to create new Australian company Chrysos Corporaঞon in late 2016 to bring it to market. "We developed photon assay recognising the market need for innovaঞve data soluঞons to drive beer and faster decision making across the minerals value chain," Dr Cutmore said. "The result is a technology export opportunity for Australia worth $1 billion in gold mining alone, and a compeঞঞve edge for Australia's mining industry on the global stage." As the world's second largest gold producer, Australian industry will benefit from the opportunity to capture more value from mined resources, as well as increased operaঞonal efficiencies, revenue and producঞvity. The first photon assay system is now operaঞonal at Ausdrill's MinAnalyঞcal facility in Perth, with two more systems to be established in the Kalgoorlie goldfields in the coming months. Ausdrill has longer term plans to take the innovaঞon to Africa. Chrysos CEO Dirk Treasure said that the company had a rapid growth plan and were well placed to disrupt the global gold analysis services market, offering near-real ঞme, accurate analysis for the first ঞme. "With the first system now up and running at Ausdrill, we have successfully progressed the photon assay technology from concept through to a deployed product in just 16 months," Mr Treasure said. "Our lease model has been well received by the industry, with photon assay technology benefits being delivered without any increase in operaঞng or capital costs." The photon assay system will analyse at least 50,000 gold samples a month, at a similar cost to convenঞonal methods. It can be applied to a range of other minerals, including silver and copper. To address unsustainable pracঞces by parts of the newly emerging bauxite mining industry, a coaliঞon of global and naঞonal aluminium associaঞons and companies have developed Sustainable Bauxite Mining Guidelines to ensure bauxite mining is sustainable and achieves acceptably low social and environmental impacts during operaঞon and post- closure. In March this year, the Internaঞonal Aluminium Insঞtute (IAI) along with the Australian Aluminium Council (AAC) and the Brazilian Aluminium Associaঞon (BAA) released the guidelines in recogniঞon that global changes are taking form in the bauxite supply, with new countries and new operators entering the market, and sustainable mining pracঞces were becoming increasingly criঞcal to the global reputaঞon of the industry, and should be perceived and valued as a compeঞঞve advantage of all mining companies. Miles Prosser, Execuঞve Director AAC, commented that "good governance reduced environmental legacies, safety incidents, and increased community benefits", which resulted in "not only beer financial outcomes but also enhanced company, country and industry reputaঞon and credibility". "It is intended that the Guidelines are relevant to all bauxite producers globally who strive to operate sustainably, not just those who are seeking to achieve best pracঞce," said Mr Prosser. Bauxite demand has historically been met by a few large players in the market, who have operated large scale mines. To meet current and future demand, there has been – and will conঞnue to be – an increase in the number of mines, some with less extensive ore bodies and shorter mine lives which respond to opportuniঞes in the market. According to the guidelines' authors, this changing nature of the industry means that it needs to "assess cumulaঞve impacts of both large and small operaঞons and their required governance". The recent influx of new entrants has, in some situaঞons, "led to the emergence of poor mining and environmental pracঞces, with some authoriঞes imposing moratoria or bans on bauxite mining and shipping in response". The guidelines provide direcঞon on reducing the impact on biodiversity, land and water and promoঞng community engagement and integrated rehabilitaঞon and closure acঞviঞes. "The Guidelines are primarily intended for use by managers of bauxite mines, representaঞves of non-government organisaঞons (NGOs), neighbouring communiঞes and government regulators," concluded Mr Posser. Photon assay accurately and rapidly detects low levels of gold in ore samples so that miners can determine gold grade. Image courtesy CSIRO X-rays mark the spot Bauxite mining industry gets sustainable mining guidelines

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