Dual-listed DRDGold’s flagship metallurgical plant Ergo Mining has entered into a second five-year research and support agreement with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) through the Gold Research Group in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, to continue with research aimed at enhancing capacity and capability within the field.
The research will seek to allow students to research ways to improve the probability of increased gold recovery, as well as the use of environment-friendly treatment technologies.
The technological focus areas will comprise four inter-related and interdependent categories, namely: alternative leaching technologies; fluidisation and recovery technology; environmental treatment technologies; and chemical measurements and modelling technologies.
“Through the four categories, Wits will assist Ergo in developing new leaching processes and using alternative leachants and ligands for a range of sulphides, develop fluidisation and packed bed technology for a new gas phase technology for a range of sulphides.
“They will also obtain a detailed and thorough understanding of the environmental impact of the Ergo plant operations in terms of energy use, effluents and emissions during the liberation of the gold contained in the sulphides.
“The research will also assist Ergo in developing new measurement techniques to reliably quantify small amounts of gold in the leached solutions and predict the optimum reagents to use based on density functional theory calculations and modelling techniques applied to various parts of the process,” says manager of the programme Professor Herman Potgieter.