Singapore-based Clean Earth Technologies (CET) recently conducted test work that it says could make the use of cyanide in gold processing a thing of the past.

The company confirmed it has returned, on average, 80%-85% of gold from ore samples originating at Genesis Resources’ Plavica mine in north Macedonia using its rapid extraction process that replaces conventional cyanide with its non-toxic reagent that dissolves fine gold out of ores.

The trials were held at a pilot plant in Menzies, Western Australia, operated by Clean Mining, which is part of the Clean Earth Technologies Group.

CET CEO Kevin Fell said the test results challenge the misconception that environmentally friendly processes involve more cost or are less efficient.

“It further validates the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the process. This is a win for people and the environment as well as for resource owners around the world,” he said.

The technology is scalable for both large and small operations, and can be used at greenfield sites as well as existing mining operations. 

“We have been working hard to make it possible for miners to extract gold in a safe, sustainable, and financially viable way,” Fell said.

“The need is becoming critical as more countries ban cyanide and we are seeing more disasters as aging tailings dams fail and spill noxious waste into the environment.”

He added that combining Clean Mining’s recovery and dewatering solutions can help mines significantly reduce their mining footprint and avoid risk by replacing massive tailings dams with dry-stack tailings.

CET said it is planning further Plavica ore testing, though it did not indicate a timetable.