Barrick cuts cyanide by 80% by adding glycine leach for gold recovery

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX: NYSE: GOLD) and Draslovka have achieved their goal – an 80% reduction in cyanide use by adding the […]
The Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania. Credit: Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX: NYSE: GOLD) and Draslovka have achieved their goal – an 80% reduction in cyanide use by adding the GlyCat technology to the processing plant. Gold recovery remains comparable to traditional cyanidation.

Glycine leaching technology (GLT) uses glycine, a non-toxic, recyclable and biodegradable amino acid that is commonly used as a food additive, to recover gold, copper, nickel, and cobalt. GLT was inspired by nature when researchers at Curtin University in Perth observed plants absorbing gold and other metals out of the soil through the presence of glycine, which carries those metals through the soil and into the plant.

 GLT has the capacity to revolutionize the mining industry and the potential to save mining companies billions of dollars, says Draslovka. GLT significantly reduces processing costs, enhances a mine’s sustainability profile and can extend mine life by lowering the cut-off grade or unlocking value hidden in a mine’s tailings. GlyCat technology for dramatically reduces cyanide usage while also lowering, or in some cases completely eliminating, detoxification measures. In select ores, the process also results in higher recoveries.

In 2023, Barrick rolled out a global testing and implementation program with the goal of using GlyCat to unlock substantive savings and generate value for its operations while also improving its environmental footprint at the Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania.

The GlyCat pilot programme has led to an 80% reduction in cyanide consumption while achieving gold recoveries that are comparable to traditional cyanidation. With GlyCat as part of the process, the mine’s tailings are free of cyanide, thereby reducing detoxification requirements and costs.

“The application of GlyCat technology within our operations has significant potential to deliver improved operational efficiencies and cost savings, whilst also improving our environmental legacy,” said Barrick mineral management and evaluations executive Simon Bottoms. “Consequently, we are very pleased to embark upon this strategic partnership with Draslovka to take advantage of this innovative technology across our global operations.”

Pavel Bruzek Jr, CEO of Draslovka, commented: 

GlyCat provides significant economic and sustainability benefits at a time when the future of mining is conditional on cost savings, sustainable operations and securing social license to operate, said Pavel Bruzek, Jr., CEO of Draslovka. “I look forward to continuing to work with Barrick and am confident others in the sector will soon see that GlyCat is revolutionary, and its development will enable a major shift for the gold mining industry through massive economic and environmental benefits.”

Draslovka is a chemical technologies, products and services company creating value and improving sustainability in several industries, including mining, agriculture and manufacturing. The company is best known as the world’s largest producer of sodium cyanide, however its most important contribution to the sector is its glycine leaching technology.

Learn more about the future of gold recovery with GlyCat at the Draslovka website.

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