Find the solution to recovering the silver at Veladero

Barrick Gold has challenged scientists worldwide, offering $10 million to anyone who can unlock the silver from the ore at its Veladero gold mine in Argentina. Barrick’s Unlock the Value program invites scientists, engineers and other inventors to solve a scientific conundrum. Geologists have determined there are 180 Moz of silver contained in gold reserves in the ore at the Veladero mine in Argentina. Because the silver particles are encapsulated in silica, current processing methods are recovering only 6.7% of the silver. The Unlock the Value program invites proposals for an economically viable way to significantly increase silver recovery from this type of ore.

For proposals judged to have merit, Barrick will fund research and development. For a technology that is successfully implemented at Veladero, the company will pay a performance bonus of $10 million. "This opportunity will appeal to chemists, metallurgists, physicists, engineers, or any inventor with a new concept for improving silver recovery," said Greg Wilkins, President and CEO. "Experience in mining is not required because we are looking for innovation and new approaches. The $10 million award is a substantial incentive to spur creative thinking but, beyond that, Barrick will fund research and development for proposals that have merit. Scientists sometimes have difficulty finding funding to take their good ideas to the next level, so we believe this will be a welcome aspect of the program."

Interested researchers can register and submit proposals through a special website at Preliminary proposals must be submitted by January 21, 2008, to be considered for the next stage of proposal development. Proposals will be assessed by a team of experts and evaluated on their technical viability and ability to be safely implemented at Veladero. Those judged to have merit will be invited to submit a detailed proposal. If successful, they will go on to further phases of development, testing and commercial evaluation.