Engineering & Mining Journal

APR 2019

Engineering and Mining Journal - Whether the market is copper, gold, nickel, iron ore, lead/zinc, PGM, diamonds or other commodities, E&MJ takes the lead in projecting trends, following development and reporting on the most efficient operating pr

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Page 62 of 83 E&MJ • APRIL 2019 61 clean energy and mining technology compa- ny. Using low capital expenditure costs and robust filtration systems, MGX aims to help the industry transition to a greener energy future through cleaner extraction processes and technology and investing in commodities that power batteries. MGX is looking to partner with majors in Latin America through their rapid lithium extraction technology, which won the 2018 S&P Global Platts Metals Leadership Base and Specialty Metals award. "The government of Chile has announced that it will no longer allow for the solar evaporation of lithium. With a current 300 million gallons of water evaporation in the country, the government wants to see rapid extraction," said Jared Lazerson, president, CEO and director, "We see these new policies as a potential niche for MGX Minerals", he continued. MGX also intends to apply its lithium extraction technol- ogy to the shale market in eastern USA. Another company with mining assets but a focus on exporting its technology to foreign jurisdictions is Surrey-based VanadiumCorp, joint owners of VanadiumCorp-Electrochem processing technology (VEPT), a chemi- cal process that addresses the recovery of vanadium, iron, titanium and silica feed- stocks. In December 2018, Ultra Power Systems signed an exclusive patent option agreement with VanadiumCorp to purchase a full license of VEPT to utilize in Australia. "Ultra's main focus is on using the technol- ogy to expedite construction of the world's first dedicated vanadium processing facility," Adriaan Bakker, president and CEO of Vana- diumCorp, explained. On February 26th 2019, VanadiumCorp announced that national entry phases had been filed in South Africa, India and the United States for VEPT, and Bakker is bullish about its potential moving forward: "We are confident VEPT will revolutionize the cost and sustainable nature of energy storage as well as vanadium, titanium and iron production worldwide." The rise of 'urban mining' Conventional mining relies on the develop- ment of a finite resource that will, by defi- nition, eventually stop producing. 'Urban mining' of electronic waste (E-waste), on the other hand, tackles a growing problem by recycling metals from an ever-increasing feedstock of used electrical goods. Rather than having to construct high-capex mines to extract metals, urban miners can have feedstock delivered to them from all over the world. EnviroLeach was founded in 2016 af- ter developing an alternative chemistry to cyanide for gold processing. Today, the com- pany also has an E-waste division, working in partnership with some of the largest recy- clers, electronic manufacturers and smelters in the world, according to EnviroLeach's CEO and director, Duane Nelson. "There are 380 mt of gold going into electronics annually and less than 20% of that is being recycled. A lot of money is going into landfills. There is C$62 billion worth of precious metals that can be recovered," observed Nelson, adding: "The average grade of gold mines around the word is less than 5 g/mt. We see E-Waste with an excess of 100 g/mt." The recycling of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has become a key focus for Ameri- can Manganese, which shifted attention away from its portfolio of mining assets in North America after the price of manganese dropped to a level that would take 11 years to pay back its Artillery Peak project in Ari- zona. American Manganese partnered with Kemetco Research to work on a solution to produce electrolytic manganese metal from samples at Artillery Peak, using a sulfurous acid method of extraction. Recognizing that the chemistries used in this process could ex- tract the cathode material out of the manga- nese, a five-part pilot plant program was es- tablished, due to be completed by Q2 2019. "American Manganese is able to get a 100% recovery of metals from lithium-ion batteries, such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, manganese and aluminium – all strategic future metals," explained Larry Reaugh, president, CEO and director of American Manganese. "If we put 1,000 mt of batteries through American Manganese's treatment process, it is worth C$360 million in recov- ered cathode materials." Collaboration between research organizations and industry for a carbon neutral footprint For meaningful innovation to truly mature, an investment of time as well as money must be committed to R&D that is not restricted by commercial demands. From the biophar- Clinton Smyth, CEO, Minerva Intelligence.

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