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MEI Online: Hydrometallurgy: Latest News: September 22nd 2011


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:: Low Impact CSIRO Gold Extraction Process to be Assessed at Tunkillia

Minotaur Exploration is pleased to announce that it has signed a contract to conduct field trials of a new CSIRO in-situ gold extraction process at the Tunkillia gold project in South Australia.

Minotaur Exploration (Minotaur) and the Commonwealth Scientific Research Industrial Organisation (CSIRO), have entered into a Collaborative Research Agreement (Agreement) for the conduct of field trials of CSIRO's recently developed process to recover gold from the oxide zone of the Tunkillia gold deposit.

CSIRO's process, if it is validated through field trials, potentially obviates the need for pre-stripping and open cut mining of the oxide resource. No crushing, grinding or cyanide circuits would be required, as are usually required in conventional gold processing. Waste dumps and tailings dams would also not be required and the likely environmental impact is therefore reduced. Operating and capital investment costs are expected to be lower and implementation timelines potentially shorter than for conventional installations.

The method involves leaching of gold in-situ in the host rock, into solution, and recovery of the gold from the solution at surface after abstraction from boreholes drilled into the rock mass. No cyanide compounds are employed, reducing hazardous material considerations and potential contamination. The trials will focus on modelling of ground water movement and transmission of the leach solution through natural fracture pathways in the host rock. The local groundwater is isolated, highly saline and unsuitable for human or stock consumption.

If successful, the trials are expected to demonstrate technical and economic viability of the method to recover gold from the oxide component of the previously published JORC resource at Tunkillia (see below for details) and may indicate its potential for application to other similar style oxide gold occurrences.

The Agreement confers upon Minotaur an exclusive royalty-free right to implement the process at Tunkillia and also grants Minotaur an exclusive six month period, following completion of the trials, in which to negotiate a commercial licence agreement to deploy the in-situ gold extraction process elsewhere throughout South Australia.

Minotaur has planned a work programme over 15 months, incorporating assistance from CSIRO, to design, install and operate a trial borefield through which CSIRO's methodology can be applied. Simultaneously, regional exploration for replicates of the Tunkillia oxide and primary gold resource will proceed with numerous geophysical, biogeochemical and drill tested targets already established. To fund the work plan Minotaur has incorporated a subsidiary, Minotaur Gold Solutions Limited, or MinAuSol, and will shortly procure seed investment into MinAuSol.

A minimum $3,000,000 seed raising is required to adequately fund MinAuSol's work plan over the forthcoming 18 months, after which and dependent on successful outcomes of the field trials, it is contemplated that MinAuSol will list on ASX.

The initial public offer for MinAuSol is anticipated to finance production scale development of the in-situ gold extraction process at the Tunkillia project, leading to commercial gold operations at the site (subject to joint venture, regulatory and Native Title approvals) from within the existing 224,000 ounce oxide gold component of the JORC resource (see below for details) and additional discovery ounces resulting from the regional exploration program.




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