When it comes to safety and responsibly managing waste from mining operations, cyanide has been an ongoing concern for many years. Australia’s CSIRO has developed new initiatives to minimise harm to the environment and improve mining process safety.
Cyanide-free gold process
CSIRO has developed a gold recovery process that replaces cyanide with a non-toxic chemical reagent. This alternative chemical reagent contains thiosulphate, which dissolves fine gold out of ores into a solution which can then be recovered through further processing.
Menzies demonstration facility
CSIRO teamed up with small gold miner Eco Minerals Research to test out the process at a demonstration plant in the Western Australian goldfields town of Menzies.
While the method has undergone decades of intensive testing in the laboratory, the Menzies demonstration has up-scaled and brought the process into an Australian industrial setting.
And the results have been promising.
First Australian cyanide-free gold pour
After just 10 months work enough gold has been extracted using the thiosulphate process to pour the first cyanide-free gold. The first cyanide-free gold using this technology marks a major milestone for Eco Minerals Research as they become the first Australian producer to go cyanide-free.
It may also be a game-changer for Eco Minerals Research who has its sights set on becoming one of the world’s first green gold producers. The $2.1 million demonstration project was made possible through $860,000 in funding from the Science and Industry Endowment fund (SIEF) and an Australian Government Innovation Connections grant.
Watch the video for more details on CSIRO’s initiative.
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