WA METS company growing local capacity to fast-track field based gold exploration
Local WA company and Innovator of the Year, Portable PPB Pty Ltd, is revolutionising gold exploration with its fast response ‘reactive sampling’ technique for gold detection in the field.
Designed to enable exploration decision making in the field, WA developed detectORE™ technology offers exploration companies considerable resource savings and efficiencies.
First developed within CSIRO, the detectORE™ method was advanced by Portable PPB into a commercially available process to fast-track field based gold exploration in remote locations. With rapid analytical response time reduced from 24 to just 6 hours, samples collected in the morning may be analysed that afternoon to inform next day sampling activities.
With the support of MRIWA and industry funding, the project tested application of the method to samples from Africa, North America and Australia, demonstrating wide applicability across different gold mineralisation styles and sample types.
Key features supporting technology transfer into industry include minimal sample preparation, maximising sample sizing and operability in a range of temperatures commonly encountered in the field.
Since commencement of the MRIWA-backed project, the recently recognised WA Innovator of the Year has expanded from three to twelve local staff, moving its R&D functions into a combined facility with its manufacturing and supply chain activities in Canning Vale.
Reflecting on the company’s journey, Portable PPB CEO Simon Bolster described how the combined MRIWA and industry funding ‘was critical in supporting the technology development through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. By enabling the research to continue, we have now been able to turn this into a useable product for industry, keeping manufacturing in Perth and producing over 8,000 widgets per day’.
Additional economic benefits from the project include increasing export sales and international investment of over $2 million into WA developed technology.
Further R&D will focus on continuous improvement as well as potential for the technique to be applied to exploration for other mineral commodities such as silver and copper.
For more information on the method, read MRIWA report 543 summarising the findings of this research.
For more information on MRIWA METS Innovation Program grants, visit the METS application page.
Page was last reviewed 20 December 2023