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Mineral Processing

Mineral processing is the process of separating commercially valuable minerals from their ores. tbb.hru is specialized in the processing of gold ores by artisanal and small-scale mining operations (ASM).

Amalgamation has been in use by the gold mining industry until the first half of the 20th century. It is now mostly replaced by cyanide leaching. ASM however still depends widely on amalgamation, as this process can be realized with minimum investment and in a minimum of time. ASM miners often depend on mining the ore in the morning, processing it in the afternoon and selling the gold in the evening.

What tbb.hru can offer:

Within the SDC projects implemented between 1993 and 2008 under Projekt-Consult's lead in Ecuador and Peru, Felix Hruschka has worked intensively on reducing mercury emissions, by either improving the amalgamation process through pre-concentration and closed amalgamation and amalgam burning circuits, or by substituting amalgamation with technologically more advanced processes like gravimetrical separation, direct smelting or controlled cyanide leaching (like in industrialized operations). A number of other methods for small-scale gold processing exists, but the applicability of any technology always depends on the local conditions.

Within the implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury adopted in 2013, this practical experience contributes directly to the goal of eliminating the "worst practices" of:

  • whole ore amalgamation
  • open amalgam burning
  • amalgam burning in urban areas, and
  • leaching of amalgamated tailings.