Accurately Target Gold Exploration Using TIMA Automated Mineralogy

MRIWA report - Using TIMA automated mineralogy to accurately target gold exploration

MRIWA report on mapping the chemical architecture of gold camps generated largely using TIMA automated mineralogy data.

A comprehensive study was completed by MRIWA (Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia) in late 2019 that successfully used mineralogy data generated primarily by a TESCAN TIMA automated mineralogy system. The project showed how this data could be converted into detailed mineral phase maps using case studies and real data from a number of gold deposits. This report was the culmination of almost 2 years of work caried out by the Australian Resources Research Centre (ARRC) at the CSIRO and several gold miners including Northern Star Resources and Evolution Mining, Gold Road Resources, Ramelius Resources, Echo Resources and Blackham Resources (now Wiluna Mining Company).

The aim of the project was to provide the minerals industry with a practical template for mapping gold systems and targeting high grade gold resources. In effect, it gives the minerals industry direct access to high impact research performed over the last two decades. The case studies presented examined deposit- to camp-scale alteration patterns.

One of the key drivers of the projects was the ability to collect data from large number of samples and analyse mineralogy alongside mineral chemistry. Combining this data with textural details such as grain size and mineral associations allows for an improved understanding of the fluids that drive key reactions and assist identifying the mineral phases key to vector into a deposit.

One outcome of this research was the knowledge that whole rock geochemistry often did not give the same level of detail as mapping the mineral chemistry.  There are examples where the whole rock chemistry was consistent across a sampling interval zone but the mineralogy had definite zonations that could be defined and delineated.

Using the TESCAN TIMA automated mineralogy system, the researchers were able to analyse large numbers of geological material in the form of drill core and rock chip samples. The TESCAN TIMA is able to examine each sample at high resolution with high sensitivity at speed. This enabled the users to generate high accuracy datasets for each sample, which could then be correlated with one another to generate detailed 3D mineral maps of the deposits.

Using these detailed mineral maps and knowledge of gold mineralisation, this study demonstrates how this data can be used for targeted beneficiation of gold.

While the TESCAN TIMA analysis was carried out at CSIRO, explorers can easily gain access to the same technology at the Automated Mineralogy Incubator (AMI) through a number of flexible access arrangements. The AMI also offers dedicated gold deportment studies and access to world class expertise to further assist you in the optimisation of your gold exploration operation.

Furthermore, while this study concentrates on gold exploration, the AMI can also assist you with studies targeting any other mineral of your choice. To learn more contact us.

example map generated using TIMA automated mineralogy data helping to accurately target gold exploration

Geological map of part of the Kundana gold camp with TIMA automated mineralogy data used to determine anhydrite abundance.