Canadian Mining Journal

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GOLD: CSIRO recovers gold without using cyanide



Lead scientist Paul Breuer holds up a 1 ounce commemorative gold ingot from the first gold pour using CSIRO’s cyanide-free process.

AUSTRALIA – For the first time in Australia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has poured gold that was recovered without the use of cyanide.

A non-toxic method of gold recovery is good news for the precious metals sector. The CSIRO process replaces cyanide with thiosulphate and a simple flowsheet. Where a  conventional cyanide plant to recover gold could costs A$30 million, the non-toxic option would cost as little as A$2.5 million. The low cost alternative could be a game changer for small producers and those looking to “green” their processes.

The Australian research project was run in partnership with small gold miner Eco Minerals Research at a pilot plant in Menzies, Western Australia. Design, engineering and construction of the Eco plant took only 10 months.

The CSIRO has also successfully recovered gold at Barrick Gold’s Goldstrike mine in Nevada. A specifically tailored solution has been used there for the last four years.

This research might also be applied to the recovery of silver and copper. Please visit www.CSIRO.au.