Cyanide has been widely used in gold mining to separate gold from ore. However, cyanide contaminates water and water tables in and around a mining site, and requires sophisticated clean-up technologies. Because concentrations of cyanide are toxic for fish, birds and animal life, there are strict regulations on clean-up at gold mine sites.
A research project at the Centre technologique des résidus industriels (CTRI) affiliated with Cégep de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue aims to increase the effectiveness of cleaning up cyanide at Agnico Eagle mines through chemical and biological treatment. The objectives of the research project are to improve the effectiveness of SCN treatments and nitrogen and remove metals and rare metalloids. The CTRI research project is defining the properties of the effluent to be treated and evaluating alternative solutions (including pre-treatment or alternative treatments) that can increase the effectiveness of the existing system. The use of ferrates for simultaneous treatment of both cyanides and metals is one alternative approach being investigated.
As part of this research project, three graduate students, three university interns, a post-doctoral researcher and six college-level interns are receiving training. Mabarex, a company specialized in the design, manufacture and installation of drinking water treatment processes, grey water and sludge, will be actively involved in the technology transfer to adapt technologies to water treatment.
“Mabarex is enthusiastic to join the research team. It will be a fantastic opportunity to contribute our knowledge to accelerating technological development with research and mining industry partners,” said Mabarex’s Vicepresident of Sales and Marketing, François Séguin.