The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 3 18 WASTE TO ENERGY Australia is leading the charge towards greener and safer gold producঞon with an environmentally-superior alternaঞve gold recovery process technology, dispensing with toxic cyanide and mercury currently used in most gold producঞon processes worldwide. The new technology was developed over more than a decade by Australia's naঞonal science agency, CSIRO, and trialled in Australia in 2018 Clean Mining's parent company – Eco Minerals Research Limited. This trial proved the thiosulphate soluঞon could extract gold from ore at an industrial scale. Following this success, the Australian company negoঞated exclusive rights to sell and distribute new cyanide-free gold processing technology worldwide, with CSIRO transferring its 'Going for Gold' process technology. CSIRO Research Program Leader, Dr Chris Vernon, believes the technology not only overcomes a significant environmental hazard, it also opens the door for Australian and internaঞonal gold miners and end users to capitalise on demand for sustainable processes and products. "Cyanide is used in about 75 per cent of global gold producঞon, and while the industry works to manage the associated risks, there have been recent toxic spills overseas that have caused great concern to communiঞes," Dr Vernon said. "Developing an alternaঞve process, which eliminates hazardous chemicals while maximising gold recovery, meets industry and consumer demands for more sustainably-produced gold." The CSIRO-developed 'Going for Gold' process replaces cyanide with a reagent, known as thiosulphate, creaঞng a relaঞvely cost-effecঞve, non-toxic and safe alternaঞve to convenঞonal cyanide-based gold recovery process. Currently, around 75 per cent of gold extracted from ore is processed using the hazardous chemicals of cyanide or mercury, which are toxic to humans and the environment. These chemicals are o[en contained in large storage tanks and, once used, expelled into large tailing dams that can potenঞally leach into the local surrounds or, worse, burst as we've seen in recent years in Brazil and Canada. Clean Mining and CSIRO team up to launch cyanide-free gold processing Clean Mining & CSIRO demonstraon plant, Western Australia Clean Mining will deliver the new technology soluঞon to a global market of gold producers, offering technology products and licences as well as turn-key processing plant opঞons, plus equipment and product support throughout the mine life. Clean Mining Managing Director, Jeff McCulloch, says the technology is suitable for new greenfields mines, locaঞons where cyanide cannot be used or is banned, as well as in exisঞng mines looking to upgrade and transiঞon to the new technology. "This technology provides gold miners with an opportunity to proacঞvely evolve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards," Mr McCullloch said. "This new technology literally delivers a new gold standard for the global gold industry. "The technology is scalable and cost effecঞve, and the process has been tested and proven at an industrial-scale to deliver commercially viable results." "Eliminaঞng cyanide and the associated tailing dams from the gold recovery process is a game-changer for the sector and, importantly, for the communiঞes where gold miners operate," Mr McCulloch added. Clean Mining are currently in negoঞaঞons with ICA Mining Services Pty Ltd in the Northern Territory of Australia to commission the first commercial plant to process gold using this technology, and with Nu-Fortune Gold to commission a plant in the Goldfields of Western Australia. "We have already had interest from miners keen to unlock previously uneconomic or stranded deposits, as the soluঞon does not require financial investment in a large-scale plant and it also miঞgates hazardous chemical risks," said Mr McCulloch. "Our observaঞon is that consumers are demanding ethically produced gold that minimises impact to the environment, is free from human harm, exploitaঞon and conflict, and can be tracked from mine to refiner to consumer."

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