Environment: gold from woodchips, grease, mine muck surprises

22 November 2016

Recovery of gold from mine waste at Goldplat Recovery in Benoni generates a surprisingly high level of revenue while protecting the environment and providing hundreds of jobs.

The London Aim-listed Goldplat, a bona fide junior producerfrom secondary material, last year generated R350-million by recovering 40,000 oz of gold from several forms of mine muck.

The profitable, debt-free gold recovery services company, operationally led by COO Hansie van Vreden and guided by consultant Dr Bob Smith, takes the burden of environmental responsibility and liability off the shoulders of virtually every major goldmining company by turning to positive account mine woodchips, mill grease, mill liners, fine carbon, concentrate bags and other mine throw-aways and muck.

Surprisingly, Goldplat is able to do the proper and profitable gold recovery routine with off-the-shelf equipment and a multiplicity of processing routes that come with years of experience.

Recovered is the gold that finds its way into:

• the wood used as support in underground mines;
• steel and rubber mill liners, which are used to protect the mill shell used in mine processing plant;
• mill grease, which when replaced is reprocessed to recover spillages of ore that have stuck to the grease;
• fine carbon, which becomes available when modern processing plants reprocess activated carbon for reuse;
• “vlei” material, or surface material in the vicinity of mine processing plant that tends to accumulate in settlement ponds; and
• the clean-up of gold plants and rock dumps.

While mining companies are environmentally obliged to deal with their own waste arisings, few venture to do what Goldplat offers because of the complexities involved; some who have tried have incurred steep financial losses in the process.

Besides the operation in Benoni, Goldplat has another recovery business at Tema, in AccraGhana.

In South Africa, all of the major goldmining companies, with the exception of Harmony Gold, are Goldplat clients.

The South African Goldplat Recovery company is 26%-owned by black economic empowerment company NMT Capital, which has three nonexecutive directors on the board, one being the chairperson of the company, Sango Ntsaluba.

Goldplat GM Esau Mokotelijoined the group in April from AngloGold mine Savuka, on the West Wits.

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