Terry O'Connor, chairman of one of the world's biggest mining and drilling contractors, Ausdrill, says the company's investment in Adelaide-based Chrysos Corporation and its CSIRO-developed photon-assay (high-energy x-ray) technology could start paying serious dividends from the middle of next year.
"This technology will provide, in minutes, assay results which have previously taken days," O'Connor said at Ausdrill's latest annual general meeting in Perth, Western Australia.
Ausdrill's MinAnalytical unit invested in Chrysos last year and started working with the start-up to commercialise its mineral assay technology. Chrysis' promotions say it can deliver "assays at the speed of light", providing "real-time, accurate grade information without laborious, time-consuming and error-prone sample preparation or complex chemical treatment".
The patented Chrysos PhotonAssay technology was developed over 15 years by CSIRO, Australia's government-backed national researcher.
O'Connor said the first commercial unit was expected to be commissioned for validation by the June quarter next year.
"It's a lot quicker, a lot more efficient and arguably a lot more accurate [than traditional assaying methods]," Ausdrill's chief operating officer Andrew Broad said earlier this year.