SEF Canada, a Vancouver-based firm that specializes in corporate social responsibility, recently launched a project called “Clean Gold Community Solutions” and it is taking its first steps in Ecuador.
“This is our newest economic development strategy built around artisanal mining communities,” said Suzette McFaul, SEF’s Managing Director. “Acknowledging that artisanal miners are entrepreneurs, we have a solution to assist them to become sustainable businesses. This includes business knowledge, access to funding and technology to process gold.”
Following a series of meetings with local leaders to understand their needs and how they see the future of their community, McFaul and her team are about to sign an agreement to help them update an existing gold processing plant in northern Ecuador to make it safer and more profitable.
Currently, miners in the area mix their ore with mercury and then burn the amalgam that this process yields to recover gold. As they do this with precarious tools, they put themselves in danger and release toxic chemicals into the environment. Additionally, SEF has determined that their recovery rate is about 30 to 40 per cent and their selling price is a fraction of the spot price.
Thus, the Canadian experts are proposing a less harmful and greener method that would help them reach gold yields of 90 per cent. This new approach, which has been endorsed by leading researchers at the University of British Columbia, switches mercury for cyanide in the recovery process.
For the rest of this article: http://www.mining.com/canadian-company-wants-help-artisanal-miners-produce-clean-gold/