Pilot plant of clean process for recycled nitrogen for precious metal recovery
Mining - Technology and Innovation
Water use and impacts on aquatic ecosystems
Agnico Eagle Mines- Division LaRonde
Quebec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation
Quebec Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Clean Growth Program
Science and Technology Assistance for Cleantech (STAC) Contribution
Quebec City, QC
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The overall objective of the project is to reduce gold producer’s impact on aquatic ecosystems through the development of an NaCN (sodium cyanide) regeneration process which allows for recycling of nitrogen sources formed during cyanide processing (sulfide-cyanide reaction by-products) for dissolution of precious metals.
The three (3) main objectives of the project are as follows:
- Construct a pilot-scale cyanide regeneration processing plant for dissolution of precious metals
- Demonstrate the performance of the pilot-scale unit for the dissolution of precious metals through recycling of nitrogen sources, on industrial sites.
- Evaluate both economic efficiency of the process and the reduced aquatic environment impacts.
This project will develop a gold extraction process that is more environmentally friendly. The new process will encourage new mining projects and promote the economic development in the regions where the mines operate.
Anticipated environmental benefits:
- Significant reduction to volume of contaminated water stored in tailings ponds and increase of water reuse from the metal processing plant.
- Reducing the amount of toxic nitrogen compound contaminants in tailings ponds and final effluent through the nitrogen reuse in process.
- Reduction of environmental risks by reducing the amount of cyanide and sulfur dioxide (SO2): Significant reduction in the amount of fresh NaCN used (> 80%) in the precious metal leaching circuit and therefore reducing it’s transport. Possible elimination of the detoxification circuit which uses large quantities of SO2 and the transport of this reagent on the roads.
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