The best in new technology
◢ Picking up the trail
|Making an informed decision about the direction of gold exploration can mean waiting days or weeks for information from an assay or scanning electron microscope (SEM). But with the Gold Sniffer, released to the market in August by its eponymous company, geologists can analyze samples in 45 minutes. The equipment uses a 20-megapixel camera to take pictures of drill core or grab samples cut by a diamond saw and search for the specific wavelengths reflected by the gold-silver alloy electrum, according to information provided by the company. This data is fed through an algorithm to determine the location of the gold and the grade. As a former CEO of a mineral exploration company, inventor Jim Kendall knew that a portable gold-detection device could be a powerful tool for miners. The device’s intent is truly “to move the analytical power of [assay and SEM] techniques into the field so that geologists can do gold analysis on-site and in minutes,” Kendall said. However, he cautioned that given the novelty of the technology, only a qualified person can determine if the data from the device is accurate and reliable enough to replace assays and SEMs in technical reports or press releases.
◢ Crushing it on a smaller scale
When Sepro tried to find a cone crusher for the small- and medium-sized mining projects they worked with, they came up empty-handed. Some were too expensive, some were too old-fashioned, and some were too big and took up too much space for smaller sites. The company expects its new Blackhawk 100 will fill the gap. The compact design of the cone crusher could make it a valuable secondary or tertiary crusher for any operation, but the size is ideal for smaller projects ranging from 20 to 60 tonnes per hour, according to vice-president of sales Dave Hornick. “We tried to bring the new technologies to the table with a little more economy in mind,” Hornick said. According to Hornick, many smaller crushers are still spring-loaded, whereas the Blackhawk 100 is fully hydraulic, which makes maintenance easier, faster and safer; for example, the hydraulics can be used to remove stuck particles easily. The lock-bolt design also allows operators to safely remove liners without using a cutting torch, a feature Hornick called unique among crushers of this size.
◢ Faster, cheaper core logging
Between the cost of the truck and the technician, gamma logging can be pricey – up to $1,900 per day, especially at remote sites when transportation costs become an issue. But Imdex’s new gamma logging tool, the REFLEX EZ-GAMMA, can do the job at about 10 to 15 per cent of the cost, according to Dave Lawie, head of Imdex’s global geosciences division. “The EZ-GAMMA detects naturally occurring radiation emitted by the geological formations that the drill hole has intersected,” Lawie said. That information is transmitted from on-site drilling crews or geologists to a decision-maker via the cloud, eliminating the need for an on-site technician and a logging truck. This means less money spent on transportation and less waiting for the vehicles to arrive at the site. Lawie said the data from the EZ-GAMMA is at least equal to traditionally collected information. “Recent field trials completed have proved that the EZ-GAMMA logs have actually provided more detailed, and consequently more informative, data,” he said.