Mineworx develops nontoxic leach formula to extract precious metals from e-waste

Mineral processing company Mineworx said that it has developed a nontoxic leaching method that extracts precious metals from ores and e-waste. Mineworx said that this is safer for the environment than existing cyanide-based formulas.
Thüringer Landhaus Ilmenau, pixelio.de
Thüringer Landhaus Ilmenau, pixelio.de

Mineworx’s HM X-leach formula is made of food-grade, organic ingredients and is recyclable. HMX Solutions has been created by Canadian mining firm Iberian Minerals, Mineworx’s parent firm, to pursue commercial opportunities for the formula. Mineworx had filed a US patent for its HM X-leach formula in July.

In a test performed on e-waste, HM X-leach accumulated 2,600 parts per million of gold in the solution in less than an hour of soaking. Mineworx CEO Duane Nelson said that the formula matches cyanide’s recovery rate of 97% in around four hours.

Cyanide is the dominant leaching agent used in gold processing. However, it creates toxic wastewater and is a relatively slow in recovering the precious metal. Cyanide has also been banned in some European countries, US states and South American nations.

Mineworx said that no other chemical has been more cost-effective and productive than cyanide until now. The HM X-leach solution recovers gold and other precious metals through several extraction methods such as electrowinning, carbon absorption and precipitation.

“We are very excited with the results of the HM X-leach formula,” said Mr. Nelson. “It has been proven by independent analysis to be non-toxic and faster than typical cyanide solutions on a number of different ores, concentrates and tailings. The HM X-leach is safer to use, offers faster dissolution rates and offers much broader operational parameters,” added Mr. Nelson.

He said that this nontoxic formula will help to reduce the risks and environmental impact of mineral processing, which “may open up opportunities in areas where the use of cyanide is banned.”

However, Mineworx is not the only company developing nontoxic alternatives to recovering gold from ores and e-waste. Waste Dive reported that researchers at Canada’s University of Saskatchewan found another alternative to recover metals from scrap in early 2016.


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