Abstract

Since 2009 all underground face samples and diamond-drill core samples at the Plutonic Gold Mine (Plutonic), Marymia Inlier, Western Australia have been analysed by portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) following a systematic approach. This method is rapid and cost-effective and provides analyses of a large suite of chemical elements which can be used to characterize lithology and alteration. The delivery of a comprehensive workflow for sample preparation, analysis, results correction, and rapid processing enabled a quantum leap in the way mine geologists use geochemistry in modelling the ore body. Interpretation of the mine-site dataset of over 200 000 multi-element analyses has resulted in significant improvements in the understanding of the Plutonic deposit. In this contribution, we review how our understanding of Plutonic has been significantly improved through the use of pXRF geochemical analyses. Incorporation of pXRF data into routine geological modelling at Plutonic has resulted in improved confidence in the models of the ore bodies themselves and late-stage dolerite intrusives. It has allowed better management of milling processes through the development of metallurgical proxies and for significant insights into the role of stratigraphy in controlling the location of gold mineralization. We highlight the potential that a systematic approach to collecting pXRF data can have in a mining environment. These same techniques could be adapted and used in other mine and/or exploration settings.

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