Bayan Airag Exploration achieves world first with Draslovka’s glycine leaching tech

Draslovka a.s., a specialty chemicals company, has executed a user license with Bayan Airag Exploration LLC in Mongolia for the world’s first application of its proprietary glycine gold leaching process, GlyCat™, in a commercial heap leaching application.

Application of the technology has commenced to extract gold from ores mined from its Golden Hills and Limestone Ridge pits.

The decision to fully implement the technology on its heap leach operations was made following site-based testing and culminating in a 1,000-tonne trial heap leach, according to Draslovka. The collaboration involved staff from Draslovka’s Perth-based mining innovation centre and Bayan Airag site-based staff.

The recent heap leach trial demonstrated higher recoveries than conventional cyanidation, with 78% overall gold recovery, the company said. This was achieved with a 65% reduction in cyanide and high recyclability of the glycine. Overall, due to high cyanide unit costs, the total reagent costs are projected to be reduced by over 70%.

The Bayan Airag mines are located in a part of Mongolia where temperatures are regularly sub-zero, making the trial and forward commercial application of the technology of interest to other cold climate applications globally.

Ivor Bryan, Chief Technology Officer of Draslovka Mining Solutions, said: “GlyCat’s use in heap leaching applications demonstrates equivalent or better recoveries and step change reduction in operating costs. This provides opportunities for our clients to extend mine life and convert uneconomic ores and wastes into viable metal production opportunities.

“We look forward to expanding our strong relationship with Bayan Airag as it considers other projects in its area of operations and as a foundation for further applications in Mongolia.”

Peter Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of Bayan Airag, added: “At Bayan Airag where we often have challenges in cyanide supply and costs, we saw the GlyCat process as an opportunity to reduce our reliance on cyanide and to use a much more eco-friendly alternative that provides sustainability to our Mongolian business and improved outcomes to the community in which we work. It also gives us an advantage for when we encounter high levels of copper in our gold-silver ore.

“We are proud that the Bayan Airag mine is the first mine in Mongolia to use GlyCat and the first instance of commercial implementation of GlyCat in a heap leach anywhere in the world.”