TORONTO - BARRICK GOLD is offering a US$10-million prize to anyone who can develop a practical method of recovering silver at the Veladero gold mine in Argentina. Scientists from the world are invited to compete in the "Unlock the Value" program.
CMJ visited the Veladero site high in the Andes Mountains for an article in its June 2005 issue. The mine is forecast to produce 550,000-575,000 oz of gold in 2007. The problem with recovering an estimated 180 million oz of silver is that silver particles are encapsulated in silica and conventional recovery techniques leave behind 93% of the metal.
Interested researchers can register and submit proposals through a special website at www.UnlockTheValue.com. Preliminary proposals must be submitted by Jan. 21, 2008, to be considered for the next stage of proposal development. Proposals will be assessed by a team of experts and evaluated on their technical viability and ability to be safely implemented at Veladero. Those judged to have merit will be invited to submit a detailed proposal. If successful, they will go on to further phases of development, testing and commercial evaluation. For proposals judged to have merit, Barrick will fund research and development. For a technology that is successfully implemented at Veladero, the company will pay a performance bonus of US$10 million.