CSIRO researchers have developed an environmentally-friendly gold recovery process technology which eliminates hazardous chemicals while maximising gold recovery.
The CSIRO-developed ‘Going for Gold’ process dispenses with toxic cyanide and mercury currently used in most gold production processes worldwide, replacing it with non-toxic and safe reagent known as thiosulphate.
CSIRO Research Program Leader, Dr Chris Vernon, said the technology not only overcomes ‘a significant environmental hazard’, it also opens the door for Australian and international gold miners to capitalise on demand for sustainable processes and products.
“Cyanide is used in about 75 per cent of global gold production, and while the industry works to manage the associated risks, there have been recent toxic spills overseas that have caused great concern to communities,” Dr Vernon said.
“Developing an alternative process, which eliminates hazardous chemicals while maximising gold recovery, meets industry and consumer demands for more sustainably-produced gold.”
The Going for Gold’ process technology will be transferred to Australian company, Clean Mining Limited, which will subsequently bring it to a global market of gold producers, offering technology products and licences as well as turn-key processing plant options, plus equipment and product support throughout the mine life.
“This technology provides gold miners with an opportunity to proactively evolve their environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards,” said Clean Mining Managing Director, Jeff McCulloch.
“This new technology literally delivers a new gold standard for the global gold industry.
“The technology is scalable and cost effective, and the process has been tested and proven at an industrial-scale to deliver commercially viable results.”