An Australian organisation has developed a method for cyanide free gold. The new process offers a greener and safer method of gold recovery. It dispenses with toxic cyanide and mercury currently used in most gold production processes worldwide.
On the back of successful industry trials and the first gold pour last year, Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, will transfer its ‘Going for Gold’ process technology to an Australian company, Clean Mining Limited.
CSIRO Research Program Leader, Dr Chris Vernon, believes the cyanide free gold technology not only overcomes a significant environmental hazard, but it also opens the door for Australian and international gold miners and end users to capitalise on the demand for sustainable processes and products.
“Cyanide is used in about 75 per cent of global gold production, and while the industry works to manage the associated risks, there have been recent toxic spills overseas that have caused great concern to communities,” Dr Vernon said.
“Developing an alternative 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, creating a relatively cost-effective, non-toxic and safe alternative to the conventional cyanide-based gold recovery process.
Clean Mining will deliver the new technology solution to a global market of gold producers, offering technology products and licences as well as turn-key processing plant options, plus equipment and product support throughout the mine life.
Clean Mining Managing Director, Jeff McCulloch, says the technology is suitable for new greenfields mines, locations where cyanide cannot be used or is banned, as well as in existing mines looking to upgrade and transition to the new technology.
“This technology provides gold miners with an opportunity to proactively 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-effective, and the process has been tested and proven at an industrial-scale to deliver commercially viable results.”
Clean Mining is currently in negotiations with ICA Mining Services Pty Ltd in the Northern Territory of Australia to commission the first commercial plant to cyanide free gold technology, and with Nu-Fortune Gold to commission a gold recovery plant in the Goldfields of Western Australia.
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