Cyanide Free, Non-Toxic Gold Recovery (Going for Gold)

SIEF supports a demonstration plant to validate new products for gold recovery (Going for Gold)

The challenge

In the large-scale gold mining industry, toxic cyanide is often used to recover gold from the earth. Small mining firms typically do not use cyanide, but their gold recovery practices are far less efficient, with miners losing up to half of the gold that they mine. As a whole, the industry faces challenges relating to resource size, transport costs, stringent regulatory approvals processes, and environmental constraints.

A gold ingot produced from the first gold extracted by the demonstration plant (Source: CSIRO).

The response

The SIEF Experimental Development Program (EDP) will support the development of market-ready, proprietary, non-toxic gold recovery products. SIEF funds will support the construction and operation of a mobile pilot plant that will demonstrate recovery of gold using the non-toxic products from various gold ores in the field at scale.

The collaboration

A team of specialists from CSIRO and Eco Minerals Research Ltd will contribute expertise in research and development, process engineering and construction, mineral processing, chemistry, and process piloting, to demonstrate the technology.

Projected impact

The outcomes of this project have the potential to drive commercialisation of non-toxic gold recovery products, with projected impacts including:

  • Increasing the economic value of gold recovery markets, with an estimated $3 billion per annum of additional gold production in Australia and more than US$30 billion per annum worldwide.
  • Reducing environmental risks of gold mining and mitigating the very high costs of safely managing cyanide.
  • Increasing the business potential of small-scale gold mining firms which use sustainable business practices, with flow-on social and economic benefits to regional communities.

Download Cyanide Free, Non-Toxic Gold Recovery [176kb]