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Commercialization may be in the works for a ‘cleaner’ gold-recovery process

By Gerald Parkinson |

A green hydrometallurgical process for recovering gold from ore, developed by Haber, Inc. (Arlington, Mass.; www.habercorp.com), may make its commercial debut in Suriname. Albert Conti, Haber’s CEO, says the Republic of Suriname has made a commitment to develop a strategic partnership with the company for the use of the process. The elimination of mercury pollution is a goal of the government in Suriname, where small-scale gold miners use the metal to absorb gold from gold concentrates, recovering the Au as a gold-mercury amalgam. Excess Hg is driven off as a vapor by heating. In contrast, Haber’s process doesn’t use Hg and avoids the use of cyanide, commonly used in large-scale mining to leach gold from ore. The commitment follows recent government-sponsored tests of Haber’s process in Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital. A number of sulfide ores were processed and gold recovery ranged from 96.1–99.7%, says Conti. This compares with recoveries of about 35% for current small-scale commercial operations in Suriname, he says, noting that Suriname has more than 25,000 small-scale miners and about 100 larger gold-mining entities. Conti declines to give specific details on the process, except to say that…
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