Prestigious Prime Minister’s 2022 Prize for Innovation awarded to CSIRO’s PhotonAssay™ technology

The team behind PhotonAssay™ technology developed by Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, have received the Prime Minister’s 2022 Prize for Innovation.

Chrysos' Photon Assay delivers fast and highly accurate gold analysis. Image credit: CSIRO
Media Release by CSIRO

CSIRO’s Dr Nick Cutmore, along with Dr James Tickner and Mr Dirk Treasure from spin-out company, Chrysos Corporation, has been recognised for the successful commercialisation of PhotonAssay™ technology, as recipients of the Prime Minister’s 2022 Prize for Innovation.

The PhotonAssay™ technology developed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, delivers faster, safer, more accurate and environmentally friendly analysis of gold for the minerals industry.

Formed in 2016 to commercialise the PhotonAssay™ technology, Chrysos Corporation has significantly grown their installations around the world.

PhotonAssay™ is fast becoming the preferred technology for gold analysis across the globe due to its speed and reduced environmental impact when contrasted to the incumbent process, fire assay. With fewer carbon dioxide emissions and less hazardous waste, PhotonAssay™ offers improved customer benefits in comparison to fire assay which is much slower, more hazardous, uses toxic chemicals and requires sample fusion at temperatures up to 1200 degrees centigrade.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall congratulated the team, describing Chrysos as a shining example of CSIRO’s innovation catalyst strategy in action.

“When scientists decide to create a business from scratch, you know it’s going to be pretty extraordinary,” said Dr Marshall.

“Australian deep-tech innovation companies like Chrysos give me hope for the nation’s wider opportunity to add more value to our mineral commodities right here at home before we export them to the world.”

Dr Nick Cutmore said that he was extremely honoured to receive the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation, and credited CSIRO for providing an environment where such initiatives were possible.

“I’m proud that CSIRO’s innovative technology is now used around the world including Australia, Africa and North America – that’s real global impact,” Dr Cutmore said.

“Being fully automated, PhotonAssay™ can deliver results to customers in a little as two minutes, unlike the days that could be required for traditional methods.”

CSIRO’s Executive Director of Growth, Mr Jonathan Law who nominated the PhotonAssay™ team for the prestigious award, also congratulated the team on its win.

“Through partnerships with global laboratory companies and major miners, Chrysos is continuing to build Australia’s reputation of a world-leading exporter of Mining Equipment and Technology Services (METS) built on the very best of Australian science,” Mr Law said.

“Chrysos has created more than 70 high-value jobs and delivers a safer and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional assay methods.”