Barrick Gold Corp of Toronto is one step closer to awarding a $10 million performance bonus for the scientific answer to increasing silver recovery from ore at its Velardo gold mine in Argentina.
As part of the company’s “Unlock the Value” program launched last year, Barrick has narrowed down the number of proposals to nine from an original field of 238 preliminary submissions. Each original entrant was asked to find a way to extract silver minerals, encapsulated in silica, that resist traditional extraction methods.
Teams that have advanced this far will each receive US$25,000, and Barrick will support funding for the next research phase. The successful teams have already passed two levels of scrutiny and the most recent submissions will now undergo proof-of-concept testing at the laboratory scale to investigate the performance of the technology. If the proof of concept is confirmed, technological development will progress to pilot and integrated pilot levels.
All development and proof-of-concept testing will be managed and supervised by Barrick’s Research and Development team. Based on the success in Phase 3, Barrick will determine if the proposed solution can proceed to the fourth and final phase — Commercial Scale Economic Evaluation.
Testing may take two or more years.