Barrick/Newmont JV's Turquoise Ridge underground gold mine complex. Source: Panoramio. The grade or concentration of a mineral or metal in ore directly affects costs associated with mining as well as its subsequent beneficiation and extraction of precious components.
Growing world demand for gold and decreasing discovery rates of ore deposits necessitates new techniques for gold exploration. Current techniques for the detection of ppb level of gold, such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) are not field-deployable.