Outotec strengthens gold processing portfolio

Outotec has agreed to acquire the majority of the shares in Biomin South Africa, and certain assets from Biomin Technologies in Switzerland
Outotec strengthens gold processing portfolio Outotec strengthens gold processing portfolio Outotec strengthens gold processing portfolio Outotec strengthens gold processing portfolio Outotec strengthens gold processing portfolio

A BIOX plant at Kokpatas in Uzbekistan

Ailbhe Goodbody

With this acquisition, Outotec gets the full intellectual property and marketing rights of the BIOX bioleaching technology, which is a method for the treatment of refractory gold ores. The parties have agreed not to disclose the acquisition price. The acquisition in expected to be closed in a few weeks and it will not impact Outotec's financial guidance for 2015.

Outotec stated that Biomin's BIOX technology complements its portfolio of gold processing technologies. Gold orebodies are becoming more complex to treat and consist of refractory ores as the less refractory gold ores become depleted. Roughly 20% of the world's current gold projects and a third of upcoming projects are based on refractory ore that needs to be pre-treated before the leaching process.

There are three main pre-treatment methods for refractory gold ores; pressure oxidation, roasting, and bioleaching. BIOX is proven technology for bioleaching and its annual business volume has been some millions of euros.

Pertti Korhonen, CEO of Outotec, said: “A significant challenge for gold mining companies is to find an economically viable process to treat more complex ore bodies. This acquisition will strengthen Outotec's position in the refractory gold ore processing market. Combining the BIOX bioleaching expertise with our engineering capabilities and proprietary equipment, such as grinding mills, reactors and thickeners, we intend to provide gold producers complete sustainable plants with life-cycle services.”