Wyoming is ideal for in situ gold mining
Group 11 locates ideal project for testing ISR gold recovery Metal Tech News – April 21, 2021
Last updated 6/8/2023 at 12:06pm
Group 11 Technologies Inc. believes that GFG Resources Inc.'s Rattlesnake Hills project about 60 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming is the ideal place to prove the viability of its proprietary means of recovering gold from the earth without mining.
This technique, known as in-situ recovery, is a non-invasive method that involves circulating fluids underground that dissolve the sought metals and then pumping the fluids back to the surface to extract the metals – 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.
Also known as ISR, this metals extraction technology eliminates the need for open pits or underground tunnels, tailings storage, and the large equipment needed for traditional mining. 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.
While in-situ gold recovery is novel, the uranium industry developed this extraction technique nearly 50 years ago and it is now a preferred method of extracting the energy metal.
"Over the last several decades, this technology has been successfully applied in both uranium and copper mining, driving significantly reduced development timeframes, lower capital intensity, and materially reduced environmental impacts," said CFG Resources President and CEO Brian Skanderbeg. "We believe in its potential to be equally applicable to the gold space."
With the idea that ISR had the potential to revolutionize gold mining, EnviroLeach Technologies Inc., Golden Predator Mining Corp., and enCore Energy Corp. formed Group 11, a partnership that benefits from expertise brought by each company.
The ability to use ISR to recover gold was made possible by a formula developed by EnviroLeach that is a combination of five ingredients with the ability to extract gold and other metals from ore, concentrates, and electronic waste. What is amazing and makes this formula ideal for in-situ gold recovery is all the ingredients have been approved for human consumption by the FDA.
"The recyclability of the environmentally-friendly chemistry makes it an attractive ingredient in ISR technology and an alternative to cyanide for gold recovery," said Group 11 Technologies President Janet Lee-Sheriff.
Sheriff is currently the CEO of Golden Predator, a mineral exploration and mine development company that successfully tested the proprietary EnviroLeach formula to dissolve and recover gold from concentrates produced at a project in Canada's Yukon.
"We already have successfully tested the EnviroLeach non-cyanide chemistry on sulfide concentrates and achieved optimal results in shorter timelines than cyanide," said Sheriff.
It was the success of this work that led to the formation of Group 11.
The final piece of the Group 11 puzzle is in-situ mining expertise, which Encore brings to the partnership. Encore is led by a team of industry experts with extensive knowledge and experience in the development and operations of in-situ recovery uranium operations.
Wyoming happens to be the top state for in-situ uranium production, with four in-situ uranium production plants at the end of 2020.
The state's familiarity with the permitting and operation of in-situ mining is one of the reasons Group 11 sought out projects there to demonstrate its gold recovery technology.
This search led the company to CFG Resources and its Rattlesnake Hills gold exploration project in central Wyoming.
"Rattlesnake hosts all the necessary parameters, in a well-established jurisdiction, to test and apply the combination of ISR technology and our exclusive use of EnviroLeach's non-cyanide, water-based chemistry for ISR applications," said Sheriff.
A district-scale gold project that covers roughly 30,400 acres, Rattlesnake Hills has several attributes that make it well-suited for in-situ gold recovery.
Besides its Wyoming locale, this project hosts various styles and grades of gold mineralization for testing the in-situ gold recovery process.
Roughly 100,000 meters of historical drilling has outlined three significant zones of gold mineralization at Rattlesnake Hills – North Stock, Antelope Basin and Blackjack.
Highlights from previous drilling include 236.2 meters averaging 1.85 grams per metric ton gold, 77.7 meters of 4.2 g/t gold, 150.9 meters of 2.08 g/t gold, and 99 meters of 0.82 g/t gold.
In addition to the gold mineralized zones already outlined, Group 11 believes that the district-scale property is highly prospective for large-scale gold targets that have never been drilled.
Another advantage of Rattlesnake Hills is the gold there is found under sparsely vegetated rolling hills, which provides easy access for establishing the series of wells needed for in-situ mining.
"Our project is the ideal asset to test and optimize Group 11's technology given the character of the mineralized systems, significant zones of gold mineralization and the established permitting path for ISR mining in Wyoming," said Skanderbeg.
To acquire a 70% stake in Rattlesnake Hills, Group 11 has agreed to pay CFG US$7.5 million in cash and provide the exploration company up to a 9.9% equity interest in Group 11 through staged share issuances.
In addition, Group 11 has committed to invest US$9.5 million in gold exploration and ISR development at Rattlesnake Hills and cover all costs to advance the project to commercial production.
"We are excited to have entered into a partnership with Group 11 to advance our Rattlesnake Hills gold project and be part of a technology that could revolutionize the gold mining industry," said Skanderbeg.
Now that Group 11 has selected its first in-situ gold recovery test project, the company will begin the geological and other technical work needed to fully access the property. This includes using the EnviroLeach formula to recover gold from previously drilled core samples.
"Group 11 will commence first stage lab test work on drill core in the summer of 2021 and we look forward to advancing our work to develop new solutions for the mineral extraction industry," said Sheriff.