EnviroGold Global Limited says the precious (gold, silver) and battery metals (copper, zinc, lead) to be produced at the company’s Hellyer Tailings and Buchans Tailings reprocessing projects are expected to show a 96% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity per gold-ounce-equivalent produced and an over 80% reduction in energy intensity relative to industry averages for conventional mining.
EnviroGold Global’s circular-economy business model is designed to produce precious, critical and strategic metals while reprocessing mine waste (tailings), which often contain significant quantities of valuable precious, critical and strategic metals.
EnviroGold Global’s analytics-driven approach to project origination and development leverages extensive mine production data, mill production data and geological records to identify tailings sites that are expected to contain significant quantities of residual metals due to refractory mineralogy and/or to the inefficiency of outdated technology used during legacy mining operations. In addition to recovering precious, critical and strategic metals, the company says it remediates the tailings consistent with environmental best practices, thereby reducing the environmental footprint of legacy mining. Further, by eliminating the extractive phase (mining) of metal production, the company expects to reduce the energy intensity of metal production by over 80%.
Leveraging the framework set forth by the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol, EnviroGold Global’s detailed assessments of expected Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions for the company’s planned operations at the Hellyer Tailings and Buchans Tailings reprocessing projects indicate that the carbon intensity of the gold-equivalent ounces of precious, critical and strategic metals produced by the company will be 96% lower than industry averages for conventional mining. S&P Global Market Intelligence reports that the typical conventional mining operations generated nearly 1 tonne of CO2 per gold ounce produced.
Just last month, EnviroGold Global executed a binding definitive agreement with Hellyer Gold Mines Pty Ltd to reprocess the tailings owned by HGM at its namesake mine in Tasmania, Australia (pictured). Hellyer is owned by NQ Minerals, with the company having a plan to increase its financial year production to 1.5 Mt of tailings reprocessing in 2022, from the estimated 1.4 Mt in 2021. Earlier this month, EnviroGold announced that test work completed to date on its proprietary flowsheet demonstrated gold recovery rates of 83.5% and silver recovery rates of 94.6% from the refractory, volcanogenic massive sulphide tailings at Hellyer.
In 2021, it announced the execution of binding commercial agreements, which saw the Buchans River Delta Reclamation Project added to its portfolio of environmental remediation and asset reclamation projects, saying that it planned to deploy proprietary modular, scalable reclamation technology & systems able to process up to 1,000 t/d of reclaimed tailings to remediate the legacy tailings while removing environmental contaminants and reclaiming valuable commodities at the project.
EnviroGold Global CEO, Dr Mark Thorpe, said: “Whether serving as critical components for batteries, electric vehicles and clean-energy infrastructure, or as a store of value and hedge against inflation, metals have never been more critical to the modern, global circular economy. EnviroGold Global’s Metals Without Mining business model is designed to sustainably satisfy the world’s increasing demand for precious, critical and strategic metals by eliminating the most carbon and energy intensive phases of metal production, creating a win-win for corporate, community and environmental stakeholders.”
The Global Tailings Review reports that the total number of active, inactive and closed tailings storage facilities worldwide exceeds 8,500. The global footprint of tailings exceeds 280,000 Mt with an additional 12,700 Mt produced annually. The value of precious, critical and strategic metals contained in global tailings sites is estimated to exceed $3.4 trillion.
EnviroGold Global’s commercial strategy involves identifying, qualifying and developing tailings reprocessing opportunities, generally targeting tailings sites with at least 6 Mt of tailings and gross recoverable metal value of $124/t of tailings. Tailings sites meeting EnviroGold Global’s internal assessment criteria pass through an advanced screening process, which includes detailed technical/economic modelling incorporating expected recovery rates and site-specific process-level economic analysis.
The company has reviewed over 325 global tailings sites to date and has eight “major projects” in its global tailings reprocessing portfolio. EnviroGold Global expects to commence commercial metal production in 2022 at its Hellyer Tailings reprocessing project. The company will continue to acquire the rights to tailings reprocessing opportunities around the globe and subsequent to achieving commercial metal production at the Hellyer project will leverage strategic operating partnerships to scale up commercial metal production at multiple projects simultaneously.