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Manitoba mine clean-up spins gold

An environmental company is cleaning up a toxic Manitoba mine site at no cost to taxpayers, but it gets to keep any gold it can extract from a stockpile of arsenopyrite concentrate.

“As the price of gold and copper began to rise, we realized the possibility for extracting value from mine tailings,” said Ross Orr, president and CEO of Toronto-based BacTech Environmental Corporation.

The company is employing bioleaching technology, which uses microbes to extract valuable metals from undesirable materials.

“Bacteria digest the sulphides to break up the matrix of the tailings materials,” said Orr.

“The arsenic and iron go into the solution and the precious metals go into a precipitate for which we can use conventional extraction methods.”

While the technology isn’t new, the application is.

The plant would be the world’s first bioleaching facility for the remediation of toxic material.

The company initially met with some resistance, however, when it presented its ideas under its other banner, mining firm REBgold Corporation.

“There’s an opinion out there among some people that dealing with a mining company is like dealing with the devil,” said Orr.

The company split into two entities in 2010, with REBgold continuing mining efforts, while BacTech pursued environmental remediation.

For the full article use the link below......

Journal of Commerce