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Over the years many differing approaches have been developed to clearly understand the nature, mode of occurrence, associations and deportment of both free-milling and refractory gold in a wide variety of differing geologic environments and plant products. Many approaches can be taken to characterize the ore which may occur as complex fine grained gold, ultra-fine grained gold, coarse nuggety gold and complex As-rich refractory gold. The approach taken will be dictated by the nature of the ore or plant product, the amount of sample material available, the gold grade and the grain size distribution. In many cases the scope of the study will be limited by sample availability but is none the less possible to generate a significant amount of information. In a typical case a thorough gold characterization study would include the following elements:

* Multiple head assays

To establish the grade, homogeneity, variability, and nugget effect of coarse gold.

* Size fraction assays

Is the gold preferentially concentrated in a particular size class(es)?

* Ore microscopy / petrography of coherent ore slices or fragments

Textural and mineralogical relationships, mode of occurrence and associations of visible gold (>0.5µm in size), microbeam analyses of metallic Au and other Au minerals.

* Preparation of heavy mineral concentrates from sized fractions (screening) of crushed or milled head.