Clean Gold – On this weeks Blog we caught up with Kevin Fell co-founder & Group CEO of local Singapore based company Clean Earth Technologies to talk about some very interesting solutions they are bringing to the mining world.
So let’s get straight into the Q&A session…
1. Can you give us some background Clean Earth Technologies (CET) the company?
Based in Singapore, Clean Earth Technologies is the parent company of a group focused on the commercialisation of technologies that we believe can have a positive impact on many problem areas within the environment. Our current portfolio includes our Clean Mining brand which replaces the need for the use of Cyanide & Mercury in small, medium & large scale gold mining operations, through to the development of polymer based solutions from waste products that will address such areas as:
- Mercury contamination remediation which is essential in contaminated tailings projects
- Oil slick remediation
- Improved fertilisers synthesis improving the slow release process
- New construction materials including Repairable & Recyclable rubber
We have only been formed for over 12 months, but have been working quietly in the background for a number of years on our key solutions developed in collaboration with our various research groups & partners such as The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) & Flinders University in Adelaide. Starting with our Clean Mining brand, we are now focused on bringing our initial solutions to market.
2. Who are the Management Team of CET?
We have a strong group of hands on individuals & partners which includes our Chairman Mr Paul Hanna, Head of Sales Paul Kelly, CTO Mark Fowler & a range of solution specialists who have joined us from our research partners such Dr Louisa Esdaile & Jeff McCulloch from Flinders University & CSIRO & where we continue to have ongoing R&D engagements.
3. Tell us what CET is bringing to the world of mining that is so game changing for the industry?
Our Clean Mining Solution is our first solution to market. With the ever growing list of countries that are opposing the use of Cyanide & Mercury, we have now launched a non-toxic reagent which now provides the industry with clear options. This patented technology was originally developed by CSIRO, but is now owned by Clean Mining.
Whilst our initial launch was to focus on small to medium scale projects, the interest from larger operations has been extremely positive. This is especially the case for new projects in regions where Cyanide is either banned or they have a preference to review other alternatives.
The response to date has exceeded our expectations. However, we often get asked to provide a comparison of both performance & costs of the reagent vs. Cyanide. With regards to performance, globally there are vast differences in ore types, however, to-date we find in most cases we are the equivalent of Cyanide. Obviously, there are others where we are slightly less & others where we are ahead, this especially seems to be the case in Carbonaceous ores.
With regards to costs, a simplistic direct cost comparison doesn’t tell the full picture. Obviously much of the processing equipment etc is the same regardless of approach, ore type etc. Additionally, we also feel that the reagent price is also competitive with Cyanide & we work proactively with the client to optimise the recovery with leaching residency time, reagent consumption etc which all impact the operational costs. However, when you consider not only the actual environmental impacts, but also the government approval processes & impacts of timing, coupled with the cost savings of producing dry tails (i.e. no tailings dams), OH&S, Insurance, risk management & rehabilitation costs, then we feel that the choice clearly moves in our favour.
In addition to the above & the prolific use of mercury in many countries by artisanal miners, given the flexibility of our solution, we are also looking to provide scalable solutions to this sector by way of basic manual processes for 1-2 man teams, through to the deployment of centralised processing hubs. Obviously, for the small teams, efficiency is also key & we are currently in discussions with a number of partners to help refine this approach.
4. Where is this revolutionary processing technology being applied today?
We have only been in the market for a number of months. However, the response has been incredible with over 600 initial queries from all over the globe in a short number of months. Most of these projects are at varying stages of their maturity & we are currently working with a number of them in assisting with information & assistance in their evaluation/approval processes.
In the field, our initial plant in Menzies in Western Australia is currently being revamped to accommodate further advancements in our tank leaching process. In addition, we are in the process of roll-out with NuFortune Gold in Bullfinch in Western Australia, with further plans underway for “Clean Gold” processing hubs in Leonora & the Eastern Goldfields in Western Australia.
Coupled with the above, we have approximately 14 other global projects that are currently in various stages of the ore validation testing phase. This list is growing weekly & to-date all results have been positive with a small number of these already progressing into early stage design & approval. We expect to build on this rapidly over the coming months.
5. What big plans does CET have in the next 5 Years?
Over the next couple of years the plan for CET is to heavily promote the brand of Clean Mining & Clean Gold to capitalise on this game changing technology. However, in the short term we will also start to gradually roll out our Mercury remediation technology which complements our tailings processing & remediation strategy. Mercury is a significant problem in many tailings projects globally and CET is looking to help facilitate the removal of mercury and enable extraction of precious metals left behind in the waste.
Where can people follow CET online or contact you to find out more?