Invisible gold at Olympic Dam

“Invisible gold“ defines gold occurring within the lattice of pyrite or as nanoparticles.

A comprehensive understanding of gold distribution in the giant Olympic Dam Cu-U-Au-Ag deposit, South Australia, carries implications for metallurgical performance and economic value. The distribution of invisible gold in complex ores has been studied through nano- to micron-scale microanalysis of pyrite complemented by multivariate statistical analysis.

Statistical analysis was performed on a trace element dataset using R software to address Au correlation with other trace elements. The physical form of invisible gold is assessed at the nanoscale by imaging and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis on a scanning transmission electron microscope. Statistical analysis show associations between Au and Ag, Bi, Pb, and Te, elements which correlate with the presence of Au-(Ag)- and Bi-Pb-telluride nanoparticles in pyrite containing As, Ni and Co in various proportions.

Results provide information that can improve performance of the processing plant and optimisation of gold recoveries.

Future energy and resources


Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

Quang Minh Bui
Jiahe Chen

Vote for this project: FE44

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