Draslovka, a specialty chemicals company based in the Czech Republic, has agreed with Barrick Gold Corp., to roll out a global testing and implementation program for Draslovka Mining Solutions’ glycine gold leaching product, GlyCat, across several mines. This leaching technology could potentially unlock substantive savings and generate value for Barrick’s operations while improving its environmental footprint. It could also lead to a new, sustainable method to leach base and precious metal oxide, mixed oxide and sulphide ores.

GlyCat could enable a major shift for the mining industry’s sustainability profile by substantive replacement of cyanide used in the processing of gold ores with a non-toxic, food-grade reagent that is recyclable. Depending on the type of ore, using GlyCat in existing leaching circuits could allow for a 20% to 80% reduction in cyanide usage while reducing or entirely eliminating cyanide detoxification requirements. In select ores, the process also results in higher recoveries.

Draslovka claims GlyCat could potentially achieve an average reduction in processing costs of 25%, rising to 50% for some more complex ores.

“This agreement with Barrick marks an important milestone in Draslovka’s mission to improve the financial and environmental sustainability of mining operations worldwide,” Draslovka’s CEO Pavel Bruzek Jr said.

Barrick is the first major mining company to recognize the potential glycine leaching offers. It said GlyCat will be systematically rolled out at a global scale, starting at the Bulyanhulu gold mine in Tanzania and several other Barrick operations as a model for the wider mining industry.

“Optimizing the geometallurgical understanding of our orebodies from both economic as well as environmental aspects is a key aspect of both our evaluation process and operating philosophy,” said Simon Bottoms, mineral resource management and evaluation executive at Barrick. “Accordingly, we have established a partnership with Draslovka to continue to test the application of new technological innovations with the aim of delivering increased long-term value to all stakeholders from our operations and projects while also underlining our sustainability strategy which is our business plan.”

Largescale test work programs will be undertaken at each site to quantify the operating cost savings from the reduction of cyanide usage, potential improvements in gold recovery, and lowering of cut-off grades, all of which will allow operations to treat ore types that may have previously been uneconomic.

GlyCat uses a dual-lixiviant system of glycine and sodium cyanide. Glycine is a non-toxic chemical that is manufactured in large quantities in the USA, Germany, Japan, China, and India and finds its principal use in the formulation of herbicides, food supplements, and nutrients. Glycine can leach gold as well as most of the nonferrous base metals, specifically copper, but also nickel, cobalt and zinc.

In February 2022, Draslovka acquired Mining & Process Solutions (MPS), based in Australia, which owns the Glycine Leaching Technology IP and Know-How – through its products GlyLeach and GlyCat.

The purchase of MPS followed two major acquisitions by Draslovka Mining Solutions in 2021: the $520 million acquisition of Chemours’ mining solutions business and a $95 million agreement to acquire Sasol’s sodium cyanide business, both of which cemented Draslovka’s position as a major global player in the industry.