How It Works

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The Gold Sniffer

The Gold Sniffer is a visible optics device that can detect gold and minerals on unpolished drill core samples. The Gold Sniffer takes a 20 MP digital picture of a 3 mm x 4.5 mm area, analyzes this area with a proprietary algorithm and detects particles as small as 1.6 microns. The Gold Sniffer also returns a estimation of gold grade for the sample.

Gold & Minerals

The Gold Sniffer reveals valuable information about gold’s relationship with its host minerals that can accelerate exploration and increase gold recovery. The Gold Sniffer can detect gold, gold alloys, pyrite, chalcopyrite, and other minerals. A Gold Sniffer measurement takes just 90 seconds and can be completed on many types of samples including unpolished drill core, cut grab samples, pulps, sands and RAB (Rotary Air Blast) debris.

Easily Portable for On-site Results

The Gold Sniffer is portable and battery operated. The entire Gold Sniffer unit fits in its own waterproof case, which can be carry-on luggage on commercial flights.

Gold & Sulphide Minerals

The Gold Sniffer detects gold and minerals from a single measurement on unpolished drill core.


The above image shows the Gold Sniffer’s detection at micron dimensions of gold (magenta) and the following sulphide minerals: chalcopyrite (green), pyrite (pink), molybdenite (orange) and sphalerite (blue). This measurement was done on unpolished drill core cut by a diamond saw and required only 90 seconds.

The information provided by this Gold Sniffer measurement can be used to accelerate gold and mineral exploration, and to increase gold and mineral recovery and profitability for operations at a mine. 

Unique Optical Properties of Gold

Gold and the gold-silver alloy, electrum, are detected at micron dimensions by the Gold Sniffer using their unique colours and reflectance curves.

The gold particles are detected based on the reflectance, spatial information and unique colour of gold using software analysis of high resolution digital pictures on the surface of a mineral sample. Each Gold Sniffer picture is 3 mm x 4.5 mm and provides an “optical grade” for a specific spot. Approximately 10 – 25 pictures will be enough surface area to be representative of the entire mineral sample and provide an estimate of gold grade.

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Gold Sniffer versus Assay Grade

A comparison of Gold Sniffer gold grades to assay gold grades from 0.5 ppm to 50 ppm which correlate well. The Gold Sniffer grades are an average of 30 Gold Sniffer measurement areas.


Gold on Pyrite

(Left) Gold shown as magenta on a pyrite grain measured by the Gold Sniffer. (Right) The same gold particles and pyrite grain measured by a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The Gold Sniffer moves the gold particle imaging capabilities of a SEM into the field.


High Grade Gold

(Top) Gold particles in a high grade sample as seen by an optical microscope. (Bottom) the same gold particles detected by the Gold Sniffer. The Gold Sniffer detects all the gold particles.

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Gold in Quartz

The Gold Sniffer detects the surface features of a gold particle in quartz measuring 74 microns x 81 microns with micron resolution of detail (gold shown as magenta). Each pixel is 1.6 microns x 1.6 microns.

The mineral sample below was cut by a diamond saw and is unpolished.

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Gold in Pulp

The gold particle is indicated by the red cross near the center of the picture.