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Barrick installs first PhotonAssay lab at Bulyanhulu gold mine

Underground at the Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania. Credit: Barrick Gold

Australian mining technology company Chrysos Corp. has achieved a significant milestone by installing its first international PhotonAssay unit at Barrick Gold’s (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) Bulyanhulu mine in Tanzania.

The unit, which is also the company’s first deployment directly to a mine site, is part of a collaboration with MSALabs, which will see at least seven PhotonAssay units installed across the globe over the next 18 months.

Originally developed at Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, PhotonAssay delivers faster, safer and more accurate gold analysis, and is an environmentally friendly replacement for fire assay on-site and in the laboratoryHitting 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.

“Our ambitious plan is to deploy 80 PhotonAssay units over the next five years. At that point, with each unit capable of processing up to 480,000 samples per annum, we will be helping our customers reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 18,000 tonnes and decrease hazardous waste by approximately 12,000 tonnes every year, said Chrysos CEO Dirk Treasure.

Introducing the new system to media at the mine, Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow said it was part of the group’s continuing drive to harness technological innovation in the service of operational excellence, occupational safety and environmental care.

The Bulyanhulu mine is on track to produced between 170,000 and 200,000 oz. of gold this year.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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