Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SNIFFING FOR GOLD – Jim Kendall, seen this morning in Whitehorse, insists he’s come up with digital technology that will vastly improve the returns in the gold mining and exploration industry.

‘This is going to be good for the Yukon’

Jim Kendall is in the North promoting his Gold Sniffer.

By Chuck Tobin on December 7, 2016

Jim Kendall is in the North promoting his Gold Sniffer.

He believes the technology will lead to lower exploration costs and higher returns at hardrock mines.

Kendall suspects it will be ideal for placer miners.

“You could actually use it to direct a placer operation, direct where you are digging up the creek,” Kendall said in an interview Tuesday from Dawson City.

He spent a few days in Yellowknife last week, was in Dawson for the last three days and will be in Whitehorse until next Tuesday.

He met here this morning with Hector Renaud, the owner of Dawson’s Gold Shack.

That gold cleaning business, used by the placer mining industry, also tests gravels for gold concentrations to assist miners with mining decisions.

Renaud was impressed.

At $35,000 a pop, and an optional $10,500 annual fee to stay current with advancements in the technology and receive operational support from Kendall, Renaud said this morning he’ll be recommending to his business partner that they buy one.

Formally an electrical engineer with a PhD from Ottawa’s Carleton University, Kendall spent 20 years in the electronics industry during the emergence of the Internet and specialized digital technology.

He switched up his career path in 2007, when he enrolled in the mining engineering program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

A couple of years later, he was in the field working for a company when he asked a geologist how they could tell if there was gold in any given rock. The geologist said you couldn’t without sending the sample to a lab.

Thus began the quest to determine if there were some means of developing a system that would provide reliable data in the field to assist geologists and miners, to indicate if they were on the right track, or in the right place, Kendall explained.

He said after a six-year, $1.5-million research project – about $1 million in grants coming the federal and Ontario governments – they’ve developed the Gold Sniffer.

They have patents in the gold-producing countries of Canada, the U.S., Australia and South Africa, with two more pending.

Through his early career in the exploration and mining industry, Kendall said, the lack of a field device continued to tug at him. It was the hole in the tool box available to geologists.

He had met renowned prospector Shawn Ryan of Dawson at Vancouver’s exploration roundup. They talked about the soil sampling Ryan uses to help guide his field work.

While studying the possibility of using colour signatures attached to different mineral properties, Kendall and his team were eventually able to show that using digital photography focused down the micron level could provide reliable estimates of gold concentration.

The Gold Sniffer can produce information in 90 seconds that would take days and weeks to get back from the assay lab, Kendall said.

He said it can provide a reliable assessment from core samples right there in camp using a cross-section cut off with a diamond saw, or it can provide an assessment from photographing the round of an uncut core sample.

The Gold Sniffer provides not only a picture of the concentration, but also how the gold is embedded with the other minerals, Kendall said.

The inventor said the Gold Sniffer is not likely to replace assay results provided by professional labs to support stock market-approved methods of publicly reporting mineral resources, but the quality of the information is near the same.

“This is going to be good for the Yukon,” Kendall predicted, stressing its efficiency and reliability.

“When you are using the Gold Sniffer when doing exploration, almost certainly you are going to find more deposits.”

The owner of Dawson’s Gold Shack met with Kendall this morning. After about 40 minutes, he was convinced of the sniffer’s ability.

“I am impressed with what I am seeing to the point where I am going to recommend at least one unit to my partner when he gets back from Singapore,” Renaud said.

In addition to gold cleaning, he said, the Gold Shack sends gravel samples to a Vancouver lab for a precise analysis.

This morning, he said he brought with him a sample from the Indian River watershed that had already been analyzed in Vancouver.

Renaud said the Gold Sniffer showed better gold than the lab, about seven to eight per cent better, though he explained when labs fire-test a sample, the smallest of gold particles can be destroyed.

He said he sees Kendall’s invention as not only as viable, but a huge time saver for those in the industry.

Comments (3)

Up 9 Down 2

Harry Fleick on Dec 8, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Gold is where you find it.

Up 3 Down 24

Gary Liddy on Dec 8, 2016 at 2:16 pm

There's still gold to find after 120 years of ripping up the land ?

Up 11 Down 2

north_of_60 on Dec 7, 2016 at 7:15 pm

"He had met renowned prospector Shawn Ryan of Dawson at Vancouver’s exploration roundup. "
Let's see Ryan's reaction to this.

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