Group 11's new proprietary process has been tested on high grade concentrates and is now ready for market and testing on further applications. This aims to provide the mining industry with a commercially viable, sustainable alternative to standard cyanide processes and conventional mining practices that often face community opposition and require slow-moving and expensive regulatory compliance.
Sustainable metals extraction has become a serious challenge for the mining industry as it faces growing concerns over its carbon footprint, energy consumption and operational safety; there is also a particular focus on its impact on water use and water quality.
Each Group 11 owner will make an important contribution to this business opportunity. EnviroLeach Technologies has developed an economically viable proprietary water-based leach technology. Encore Energy has pioneered proprietary expertise in in-situ metal recovery that may open a remarkably large opportunity for recovering metals from deposits without the environmental disturbance of both open pit and underground mining. Golden Predator Mining has spearheaded and successfully tested the application of EnviroLeach technology to the recovery of gold from sulphide concentrates where cyanide is not feasible or permitted, using its proprietary mobile recovery unit.
Janet Lee-Sheriff, CEO of Golden Predator, said: "We are extremely proud of the fact that our processing plant's batch processing unit (SRU) has successfully completed the world's first on-site test of the EnviroLeach cyanide-free metals recovery process. We have demonstrated that their process and our mobile plant can economically recover gold from sulphide concentrates, which is a valuable business opportunity."
She added: "Group 11 will also offer in-situ mining technology using the EnviroLeach recovery process. Mining needs to become less invasive and more sustainable. Group 11 is our response, using a unique combination of proven, proprietary knowledge to lessen the industry's footprint without any sacrifice of efficiency.
"With Group 11, we will spin out our technological developments into a private company with experts in non-invasive mining and environmentally-friendly solutions. This combination ensures that an outstanding opportunity is advanced while we continue to focus our resources on the restart of the Brewery Creek mine [in Canada's Yukon territory]. We intend to be disruptors in our industry."
Duane Nelson, president and CEO of EnviroLeach, commented: "I am very excited that we will continue to advance the application of our formulas for the in-situ recovery of gold and other metals. This application has the potential to change the way the world mines. It has the potential to unlock the value of deposits in environmentally sensitive areas and it could also provide a viable solution for thousands of smaller deposits worldwide that don't justify the CAPEX of current conventional mining methods."
Non-invasive extraction of minerals was developed by the team that is now at enCore, one of the Group 11 partners. They pioneered in-situ recovery (ISR) which has been successfully utilised to recover metals, including uranium and copper, using liquid solutions other than cyanide.
Group 11 is committed to the development and application of ISR extraction for gold and other metals using EnviroLeach's environmentally friendly liquids along with enCore's expertise in ISR extraction. The group stated that this combination of expertise will advance a business model that has potential to disrupt the conventional mining industry.
ISR is a non-invasive extraction method that could transform the uranium industry. In ISR, solvent-like fluids are circulated underground and returned to surface for further processing and recovery of the minerals. ISR means no open pits or underground tunnels, no tailings or large waste dumps and no discharge of noxious chemicals at surface. It therefore has the potential to be a low-impact, low capital cost mining method.
At the end of mine life, when many projects are burdened by remediation and rehabilitation requirements, ISR means substantially reduced mine-closure costs compared to conventional practices. In addition, energy requirements, water needs and the greenhouse gas footprint of mining projects can be significantly reduced using ISR technology.