HM X-leach is a privately branded product that is a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to the current toxic methods used in the hydrometallurgical extraction of precious metals in the mining sector. Mineworx will have the right to use the process in smaller, high grade gold deposits, providing a solution for property owners experiencing permitting issues with respect to toxic cyanide leaching or seeking an environmentally friendly alternative to cyanide.
Precious Elements Extraction: Currently a Toxic, Yet Profitable Conundrum
Digging up ore containing precious metals is only one facet of the mining process. Once the ore is brought to the surface, valuable mineral content is hydrometallurgically extracted; however, the processes utilized today are quickly becoming less and less ideal due to a number of factors.
The Problem with Existing Extraction Processes
Conventional gold mining operations rely heavily on cyanide leaching as the predominant method for recovering gold from ores and concentrates – so heavily that 66,000 tons of sodium cyanide are used annually worldwide.
Cyanide has been the leach reagent of choice in gold mining because of its high gold recoveries, robustness and relatively low cost. As a result, over 76% of all gold extracted worldwide is produced by hydrometallurgical extraction with the use of cyanide.
However, cyanide and cyanide gas used in existing extraction solutions are highly toxic, necessitating extreme care during ore processing to avoid worker exposure. In addition, the use and subsequent disposal of cyanide present significant safety and environmental challenges. As a result, increasingly stringent safety, environmental and associated permitting issues are forcing the industry to seek out effective alternatives.
X-Leach: Cyanide-Free Precious Metals Extraction
HM X-leach is a unique, cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to the current toxic methods used in the hydrometallurgical extraction of precious metals in the mining. HM X-leach is safe to handle and functions at low temperatures and near neutral pH levels. Unlike cyanide or acid methods of extraction, HM X-leach does not generate poisonous off-gasses. The base ingredients of the HM X-leach product are all FDA approved as nutritional supplements, medicines and food additives.
On-site extraction is now possible at locations formerly off-limits to cyanide processing, potentially opening entirely new mining opportunities. It’s hardly surprising that cyanide usage is being banned with a passionate fervor. Internationally, several countries, like the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador, and some states of the United States (e.g. Montana and Wisconsin)) have banned cyanide leach technology in gold and silver mining. It would be a reasonable conclusion to expect more and wider bans on cyanide use. Therefore an environmental friendly alternative is crucial for the continued development of the mining sector.
The process is like a cyanide circuit but safer and simpler. It involves the dissolution of the precious metals into the aqueous solution followed by extraction using conventional methods such as electrowinning, carbon absorption, or precipitation. The operation is simple and does not require complex process circuits, intensive gas monitoring, elevated temperatures or costly detoxification systems.
The process is safe, eco-friendly and provides comparable leach kinetics to that of cyanide or acid based lixiviants on most ores, concentrates, tailings and E-Waste. Effective recovery rates of precious metals are on par or better than cyanide or other procedures in use today.