Group 11 intends to disrupt gold mining
New company developing enviro-friendly in-situ recovery tech Metal Tech News – September 2, 2020
Last updated 9/1/2020 at 3:41pm
EnviroLeach Technologies Inc.
Group 11 Technologies Inc., a US-based company developing a means of dissolving metals while they are still underground and pumping the metal-rich solution to the surface, has officially been launched.
Given its name refers to the Group 11 elements on the periodic table – copper, silver, and gold – these coinage metals are likely the primary targets of the newly formed private company.
Group 11 is a partnership between enCore Energy Corp., EnviroLeach Technologies Inc., and Golden Predator Mining Corp., with each company bringing specialized experience valuable to the company's plans to make in-situ gold, silver, and copper mining a reality.
"Mining needs to become less invasive and more sustainable. Group 11 is a unique combination of proven and proprietary knowledge to lessen the industry's footprint without any sacrifice of efficiency," said Golden Predator Mining CEO Janet Lee-Sheriff. "With Group 11, we have combined efforts to take our collective technological developments into a private company with experts in non-invasive mining and environmentally-friendly solutions. We intend to disrupt the mining industry."
These disruptive intentions revolve around a proprietary non-toxic formula EnviroLeach has developed to extract precious and strategic metals from ores, concentrates and electronic waste.
An environmentally friendly alternative to the traditionally used cyanide, the EnviroLeach formula is made up of five ingredients that the FDA approved for human consumption.
And this solution has proven to be excellent at dissolving gold.
Using the EnviroLeach solution, Golden Predator tested this formula at a test plant in Canada's Yukon Territory.
Testing carried out late last year recovered 93.2% of the gold from a roughly two metric ton bulk sample of the material mined by Golden Predator. This testing was carried out in 11 separate batches, with recoveries improving as the tests advanced. Golden Predator reported that the final five test batches recovered 96.8% of the contained gold.
With its proven ability to very effectively dissolve gold and metals at ambient temperatures, EnviroLeach's water-based and pH neutral formula is ideal for in-situ mining.
Oft referred to as ISR, In-situ recovery, 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 large and power consuming milling equipment. This translates to much lower capital and operating expenditures, and a much smaller environmental footprint. 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.
"The in-situ recovery of gold using the EnviroLeach-Group 11 combined processes, has the potential to change how the world mines gold," said EnviroLeach Technologies President and CEO Duane Nelson. "This technology provides a relatively non-invasive, low CAPEX/OPEX alternative to conventional gold mining. This could unlock the value of thousands of smaller gold deposits, and those in sensitive environments."
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.
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 such as gold, silver, and copper.
"The enCore team members were active inventors and innovators in the earliest stages of developing and commercializing ISR technologies for the U.S. uranium mining industry and continue these leading efforts today," said enCore Energy President and CEO Dennis Stover. "We look forward to applying our expertise with this proven, environmentally sound technology to the recovery of precious and other metals."
Encore and EnviroLeach each own 40% of Group 11 Technologies and Golden Predator owns the remaining 20% stake in the innovative company.
EnCore has contributed C$750,000 in initial funding and will provide in-situ extraction expertise; EnviroLeach has entered into a license agreement with Group 11 for use of its metal recovery process, and will provide chemical and metallurgical expertise; Golden Predator will contribute mobile processing equipment and expertise in utilizing the EnviroLeach solution for recovery of gold from sulfide concentrates.
"The completion of these agreements is our first step in our in-situ mining initiative using the EnviroLeach recovery process," said Lee-Sheriff.
The next step involves the acquisition and testing of already identified gold projects that demonstrate specific qualities lending themselves to processes that the company considers environmentally and economically superior to the age-old method of digging ore.
"The combined talented teams of scientists, metallurgists, and executives have the necessary experience, expertise, and resources to drive this forward," said Nelson.