On Aug. 10, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) awarded $2.1 million to Corem under its Clean Growth Program to develop a process to recover and recycle cyanide during gold extraction.

The Quebec-based mineral processing company will receive $2,135,004 under this program to develop a cyanide recovery and recycling process which would improve the environmental sustainability of gold mining by reducing its impact on aquatic ecosystems.

According to NRCan, the process regenerates sodium cyanide in order to recycle nitrogen formed during cyanide processing and would reduce the amount of cyanide and sulfur dioxide used during gold extraction. The process is also expected to reduce the overall volume of contaminated water in tailings ponds as well as the amount of toxic nitrogen compound contaminants in tailings ponds.

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The company plans to use the funding to construct a pilot processing plant for cyanide regeneration at its industrial site in Saint-Malo, Quebec. Once constructed, the company will evaluate the recycling of nitrogen sources to dissolve precious metals and will evaluate the economic efficiency and environmental impacts of the process.

Speaking on the project investment, Quebec’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Jonatan Julien, stated that it is important that the ministry support Corem’s research and technological innovation. “This project permits the use of clean technologies to improve the recycling of contaminated water, which is more and more important for the mining industry,” he said.

The project cost is estimated to total $3.6 million, and Corem has received additional contributions of $492,000 from NRCan’s Science and Technology Assistance for Cleantech project program and $100,000 from Quebec’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.