The Canadian government recently announced it will invest more than $2.1 million in Corem, a Quebec-based “innovative expertise center” in mining processing. Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources will also contribute an additional $100,000 to a project aimed at developing an innovative approach for recovery and recycling of cyanide in the gold extraction process that will be more environmentally sustainable with less impact of gold mining on aquatic ecosystems. Corem will work to accelerate the deployment of the process at a commercial scale by constructing a pilot-scale processing plant.
Corem’s recycling technology is expected to reduce the volume of contaminated water stored in tailings ponds, thereby contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of the mining industry.
Funding will be provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, which invests in clean technology research and development projects in Canada’s energy, mining and forest sectors. The program is a $155 million investment fund that helps emerging clean technologies further reduce their impacts on air, land and water while enhancing competitiveness and creating jobs.
In July, Corem announced an R&D partnership with Mining & Process Solutions (MPS) of Perth, Australia, for their GlyLeach and GlyCat processes. In addition to pilot tests carried out in its state-of-the-art facilities, Corem will collaborate with MPS in the development of a nickel ore leaching process based on GlyLeach technology.
Corem said glycine leaching with GlyLeach is an environmentally benign hydrometallurgical process that will leach copper, nickel, cobalt and zinc from oxide, mixed oxide, supergene and primary sulphide ores.
The technology, said Corem, is capable of extracting base and precious metals from oxide and sulphide ores in an environmentally friendly and low-cost manner. Glycine is the simplest and cheapest amino acid and is available in different grades. It is an environmentally safe and stable reagent and is biodegradable and easily metabolized in most living organisms.
GlyCat is a variation of GlyLeach. It involves a cyanide and recyclable glycine lixiviant mix to leach precious metals. It requires substantially less cyanide (typically 50% to 70% less) where there is elevated copper content in the ore. It also results in tailings having much lower WAD (Weak Acid Dissociable) cyanide levels and thus eliminates the need for cyanide destruction processes associated with many gold processing operations, according to the company.