By Larry W. Reaugh – President & CEO of American Manganese Inc.
At American Manganese, we’re proud of the low energy and low water process we’ve designed for producing electrolytic manganese metal. As we described in February, our Artillery Peak property in Arizona’s process is to use a fraction of the power of today’s processes and dramatically less water. Our tailings are to be virtually dry and environmentally benign. We’re in the process of applying for a worldwide patent on our process.
Some have written that we might set a new standard in the production of critical metals.
We’re proud of what we’re doing in our way to help lower the environmental footprint of mining. And, as we saw at this year’s PDAC show in Toronto this month, others are starting to think the same way.
Here are a selection of other interesting companies we saw at PDAC that are trying to advance the mining sector by reducing waste, toxins and water use.
Energold Drilling (TSX-V: EGD) – A specialty driller that operates 230 rigs in 22 countries. Its drills are portable and can be moved with manpower, allowing projects to be completed without damaging trees or creating access roads. PDAC’s E3 program (“Environmental Excellence in Exploration”) highlights one of Energold’s case studies on how to conduct drilling programs.
Neomet Technologies – In the same way American Manganese aims to revolutionize electrolytic manganese production with a new process, Neomet Technologies aims to help the world rethink gold production. The company is developing a new cyanide-free process that it believes can still offer 95% gold recovery at 99.99% purity, with inert tailings and zero atmospheric emissions and zero chemical waste.
Newterra – A rebranding of three amalgamated companies: Filter Innovations, MLE Equipment, and Pacwill Environmental. Newterra targets the mining industry, among others, for its produced water filtration systems, using membranes and other approaches. The company aims to treat, recycle and reuse produced water, and offers pH adjustment, solids removal/filtration, and oil/water separation. The company claims 2,500 remediation projects across North America.
BacTech Environmental (CNSX: BAC) – A company using a biological process to remediate toxins at mining sites. The company’s BACOX process uses naturally occurring bacteria to oxidize sulphides in as little as 5-6 days, as opposed to the years it normally takes in nature. The process can also used to free gold and other metals like copper, nickel, zinc, cobalt and molybdenum, according to the company.
These are just a handful of companies that are finding commercial opportunities to make mining cleaner and less resource intensive.
Many of them, including American Manganese, are certainly motivated by the potential to use new technology to lower costs and improve margins. At the same time, they (and we) are gratified that cleaner approaches happen to be the right thing for the communities in which we have been given the privilege to operate … and for this planet we call home.