Chloride-based gold ore leaching facility planned for Montana – Elko Daily Free Press

Elko Daily Free Press file

A new chloride-based gold ore leaching facility is planned for Montana in 2022. Gold Extraction Inc. will establish the facility in Anaconda, about 25 miles west of Butte.

Mines will be able to ship ore to the site via interstate highway or by rail. The facility will provide mines a way to recover gold and silver from lower grades of ore in an environmentally friendly and non-toxic manner, according to Tom L. Lee, founder of Gold Extraction Inc. He said the chloride leaching process has proven to be a good alternative to the use of cyanide.

Lee said he believes the days of ore treatment with cyanide are over. He said the use of chloride-based reagents has the same environmental effect as does the pouring of sea water on rocks.

“This process will render gold mining and gold recovery compatible with 21st century environmental consciousness,” Lee said.

The development of chloride-based gold ore leaching was developed and utilized decades before the use of cyanide in gold extraction and recovery was developed in 1887, Lee said. At the time, environmental impact did not play a significant role in mining. Today, environmental issues play a critical role in every aspect of mining.

The chloride-base process utilized by Gold Extraction Inc. is a proprietary process. With many types of ore, the process will enable the recovery of up to 95% of the ore’s gold content, according to Lee.

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As a miner, and as the holder of several hundred patented and unpatented gold mining claims, the issue of ore cyandization has been a big concern of Lee’s. He said the chloride-based process will enable gold recovery economically and efficiently.

Chloride process contact with ores can be reduced to hours, rather than the days often required with cyanide, according to Lee. And, Lee said, while gold extraction and recovery for high grade ores with the process is excellent, it is extremely efficient with low grade ores, and renders them economic.

Other researchers have also been working on developing chloride processes for extracting gold from ore. An Oct. 13, 2021 SciTechDaily story said a research team at Aalto University in Finland has developed an efficient gold extraction process using chloride. The researchers’ experiments showed their chloride process recovered a higher percentage of gold from ore than the standard cyanide process.

Gold Extraction Inc. plans to begin developing its Anaconda leaching facility in early 2022.


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