X Rays To Improve Gold Production

From: The Indian Express

Now, X-rays can spot gold

Powerful X-rays can now be used to rapidly and accurately detect gold in ore samples, thanks to a new technique that could save mineral industries hundreds of millions of dollars each year.
Researchers at Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) conducted a pilot study that shows that gamma-activation analysis (GAA) offers a much faster, more accurate way to detect gold than traditional chemical analysis methods.
This will mean mining companies can measure what's coming in and out of their processing plants with greater accuracy, allowing them to monitor process performance and recover small traces of gold worth millions of dollars that would otherwise be discarded.
GAA works by scanning mineral samples typically weighing around half a kilogramme using high-energy X-rays similar to those used to treat patients in hospitals. The X-rays activate any gold in the sample, and the activation is then picked up using a sensitive detector.
According to project leader Dr James Tickner, the study showed that this method is two-to-three times more accurate than the standard industry technique 'fire assay', which requires samples to be heated up to 1200 degrees Celsius.