Drilling gold wells with EnviroLeach tech
Group 11 to advance enviro-friendly solution for gold mining Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – March 4, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:28am
Hardrock mining companies have long been envious of their oil and gas counterparts' ability to drill a hole into the ground and extract liquid minerals.
Group 11 Technologies Inc., a US-based technology firm, aims to provide miners with a way to pump gold and other metals out of the ground.
Group 11 is a planned partnership between Golden Predator Mining Corp., EnviroLeach Technologies Inc. and enCore Energy Corp. that will use EnviroLeach's proprietary formula, which involves five ingredients that are FDA approved for human consumption, for non-cyanide leaching of gold and other metals.
Golden Predator has recently demonstrated that the EnviroLeach formula can extract more than 90 percent of the gold in high-grade concentrates produced from test mining at the 3 Aces project in the Yukon.
"We are extremely proud of the fact that our processing plant's batch processing unit has successfully completed the world's first on-site test of the EnviroLeach cyanide-free metals recovery process," said Golden Predator Mining CEO Janet Lee-Sheriff. "We have demonstrated that their process and our mobile plant can economically recover gold from sulfide concentrates, which is a valuable business opportunity."
More information on the EnviroLeach testing at 3 Aces can be found at Gold leaching with edible ingredients published by Metal Tech News on Feb. 28.
Given the success at 3 Aces, Group 11 said this gold extraction technology is now ready for market and testing on further applications, providing the mining industry for the first time with a commercially viable, sustainable alternative to standard cyanide processes and conventional mining practices which often face community opposition and require slow-moving and expensive regulatory compliance.
One of the new applications being considered for EnviroLeach is in-situ extraction of gold and other metals.
In-situ recovery, or ISR, mining is a non-invasive extraction method that involves circulating fluids underground that dissolve the sought metals and then pumping the fluids back to the surface to extract the metals – sort of the reverse of the process that emplaced the metals. This typically involves drilling a series of injection, extraction and monitoring wells to circulate and observe the fluid flows.
With ISR, there are no open pits or underground tunnels, no tailings or large waste dumps, and no discharge of noxious chemical at surface. This translates to much lower capital and operating costs and minimal impact on the environment. At the end of an ISR mine, the ore body is rinsed with clean water and the wells and surface infrastructure removed and restored, which is much simpler and less expensive than closing conventional open-pit or underground mines.
ISR mining is successfully being used to extract uranium and has been a transformative technology for the production of that energy metal. Roughly half of the uranium mined today comes from ISR extraction. This technology is also being used for copper extraction.
EnCore, which has several uranium properties in northwestern New Mexico, has pioneered proprietary expertise in in-situ metal recovery that opens a remarkably large opportunity for recovering metals.
Under the terms of a letter of intent signed by the three companies, enCore and EnviroLeach will be the largest shareholders of Group 11 with an initial stake of 40% each. EnCore will provide C$750,000 in funding and EnviroLeach will provide for the exclusive use of its metal extraction technology.
"I am very excited that we will continue to advance the application of our formulas for the in-situ recovery of gold and other metals," said EnviroLeach President and CEO Duane Nelson. "This application has the potential to change the way the world mines. It has the potential to unlock the value of deposits in environmentally sensitive areas and it could also provide a viable solution for thousands of smaller deposits worldwide that don't justify the CAPEX of current conventional mining methods."
Golden Predator will own an initial 20% interest and contribute mobile processing equipment and expertise in utilizing EnviroLeach's environmentally friendly solution for recovery of gold from sulfide concentrates, as demonstrated by the success at 3 Aces. Upon completion of a definitive agreement, Group 11 will fund all ongoing research and development expenditures for in-situ and secondary recovery applications.
"Mining needs to become less invasive and more sustainable," said Lee-Sheriff. "Group 11 is our response, using a unique combination of proven, proprietary knowledge to lessen the industry's footprint without any sacrifice of efficiency."