For 30 years, 800 people at the now defunct Chamber of Mines Research Organisation (COMRO) devoted intense ongoing effort to research and development to advance mining in general and gold mining in particular. However, during a period of very tight gold-price constraint, COMRO ceased to function in the form it had for three decades, at a time when a promising portable X-ray fluorescence instrument – a portable gold analyser – was entering the final stretch of its developmental journey.