The development of a protein biosensor for gold detection provides an in-field, in-line method for detecting and monitoring gold.
Geochemical exploration for gold is becoming increasingly important to the mining industry. Current samples for gold analyses typically require transport from remote localities to a laboratory equipped with suitable analytical facilities. There is no alternative technology that can be used on the field at this stage and the Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) or Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) methods currently used require a lab environment. Determining the concentration of gold in samples may also take several weeks, leading to long delays in exploration campaigns.
The use of biosensor technology in combination with traditional techniques for mineral exploration will add value through the speed, portability and the high selectivity of these devices.
The development of biosensors for gold exploration will mean that exploration teams will be able to obtain information on gold concentrations in an environmental sample on site, rather than after weeks of laboratory analyses. In addition, biosensor devices may aid in mineral processing, where real-time in-line analysis of specific mineral components of ores can be determined. This enables real-time fine-tuning of the metallurgical process, which will improve recovery and decrease costs.