Monday, 12 July 2010

Cyanide in the news

Cyanide has been in the news in the past few days. Good news for the mining industry is the European Commission's rejection of a proposed Europe-wide ban on cyanide use in mining activity (MEI Online July 9th). The decision has been welcomed by the mining industry.

A statement by Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said that, following in-depth analysis, "the Commission considers that a general ban of cyanide in mining activities is not justified from environmental and health point of views".

Mr Potocnik added that a general ban on cyanide use would result in the closure of existing mines operating in safe conditions, and would have a detrimental effect on employment.

In fact many of the reagents used in flotation have a more harmful effect on the environment than cyanide, but the mention of cyanide in tailings is very emotive.  There are many ways to degrade cyanide into relatively harmless forms, and another news item in MEI Online (July 9th) reports on Maelgwyn Mineral Services announcement that the first commercial application of its CN-D cyanide destruction process at Randgold Resources' new 300000tpm Tongon Gold Mine in Cote d’Ivoire West Africa is due for commissioning in the last quarter of 2010. In the patented process free and WAD cyanide are oxidised by Aachen reactors using oxygen and activated carbon at specific Eh and pH values.

1 comment:

  1. There is more on cyanide management in the gold industry in Mining Environmental Management (July 2010, in an article by Chris Fleming of SGS (pps. 26-27), and Paul Bateman (pps. 13-15) reflects on the International Cyanide Code and its future.

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