Boost for drill chip technology

MARKET access to CSIRO’s innovative HyChips™ systems received a boost with the announcement of a services agreement for the technology with AusSpec International.

The non-exclusive agreement enables industry to access CSIRO’s high-throughput, mineralogical analysis service using the HyChips technology.

The HyChips systems use a visible-infrared reflectance spectrometer to rapidly scan drill chips, geochemical pulps, blast cone chips or diamond core.

This ability provides companies with a service for analysing large sample suites (of 1000’s to 10,000’s of samples) with the aim of developing a geological framework for understanding mineralisation alteration relationships in a project area.

Drill chips, for example, can be spectrally measured in their original chip tray containers without sample preparation, at a previously unobtainable rate of up to 2400 samples per day.

Specialist software and processing techniques then assist the interpretation and analysis of the contained mineralogy and mineral characteristics, such as composition and crystallinity.

Significantly, the HyChips data provide geologists with an objective method of logging, with the added benefit of providing an historical digital record of all chips and cores analysed.

Dr Sasha Pontual, Director and founder of AusSpec is excited by the market potential of the new system.

“The new CSIRO/AusSpec HyChips relationship provides industry with a unique service that allows it to acquire cost effective mineral data and therefore a key understanding of the underlying geological framework in which assay data can be compared and assessed,” Dr Pontual says.

“Most importantly, the cost per sample of processing through HyChips is on a par with the cost of geochemistry, and hence has massive implications not only for understanding assay data, but for positioning future drilling programs.

“I believe this agreement will provide opportunities within both organisations to further the uptake of these unique analytical systems that will set the standard of mineral analysis in the exploration and mining industry worldwide.”

Dr Paul Gamson, Principal Geologist with AusSpec International, is pleased with his company’s growing association with CSIRO.

“The technology is a good fit with AusSpec, which delivers products to the industry through data interpretation and training systems that have allowed both large and small corporations to trust the hardware and software technology and understand the role these kinds of data play in the overall exploration and mining toolbox,” he says.

CSIRO Exploration & Mining’s HyLogging Team Leader, Dr Jon Huntington, believes the suite of HyLogging tools (HyChips, the HyLogger™ and TSG™ – The Spectral Geologist software), will progressively become standard throughout the industry.

“It adds value to every dollar spent on drilling and provides the potential to save money through improved logging in exploration, orebody delineation and metallurgical characterisation,” Dr Huntington says.

“A number of explorers and miners such as resource majors, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold, Gold Fields, CVRD-INCO, Xstrata, Newcrest, and many small to medium explorers, have acted as important early evaluators of the HyLogging systems, and have enabled CSIRO to explore various routes to market for the technology.

“This new service agreement with AusSpec is part of our market development strategy of ensuring this technology progressively moves outside CSIRO and is more readily accessed by the broader resources community.”

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