Glycine Leaching a Game Changer for Ore Processing
STORY INLINE POST
Q: How does Draslovka set itself apart in a competitive Mexican mining sector?
A: Draslovka is a chemistry and technology company with more than 100 years of history and over 50 years of operations in Mexico. The company has three business branches: agribusiness, specialty chemicals and mining solutions.
The mining solution branch set a goal for Draslovka to offer innovative and sustainable solutions. The company aims to change the public image of the mining industry as it is one of the first links in the supply chain of several industries. Our CEO, Pavel Brůžek, is making significant investments to get technology that enables us to make the mining industry greener. Two of our products, sodium cyanide and glycine, help us in the goal of achieving sustainability.
Q: Sodium cyanide, one of Draslovka’s flagship products, is considered a commodity. How can innovation be integrated into this mineral compound?
A: The mining sector is divided into two different groups: the actual mining activity and the chemicals-based processes. Draslovka is a chemical expert, which allows us to innovate in processes beyond the product.
In this sense, we are introducing a new patented process called glycine leaching technology, which is a combination of sodium cyanide and glycine that enables a more sustainable recovery of ore. This technology consists of two different lixiviants combined with our patented technology. The resulting combination helps to target the mineral: it goes directly to the mineral and absorbs it while eliminating what you could call noise present in the minerals.
Q: How does the company approach the marketing of this solution?
A: Customers often want to know where and how our solution was tested. This is a reasonable question and represents a great concern among mining companies when trying to acquire new technology. They always want to have technology that has proven its merit next door. Additionally, clients want the technology to be scalable.
We always explain that glycine leaching is not a new, immature technology. It was developed by Ph.D. researchers in Australia and was tested there and in African mines, adding value in both jurisdictions.
Dravloska believes that this technology will be a complete game changer. Nevertheless, spreading this solution is a step-by-step process, which means carrying out tests and talking to customers again and again. We must focus on explaining the benefits of this technology as it can give customers access to more complex ore that otherwise could not be obtained. It also reduces each mine’s carbon footprint due to the reduction of supplies to refine ores and lowers overall operating costs.
Q: What recovery rate can be achieved using this glycine leaching technology?
A: The amount greatly depends on the customer’s project. There is, of course, a range but what is really interesting is when you focus on a specific project’s recovery rate. That is when you realize that other technologies via traditional solutions are simply not worthwhile when compared to our method.
Q: How does Draslovka sell this tailored service in the over 80 countries where it operates?
A: Our major clients are in the precious metals subsector and gold is where we obtain the major benefits. However, glycine leaching technology can also be applied to base metal extraction. The key is to provide clients with approximations of the technology’s impact based on the information they provide us with about their project. There is strong science behind this process and we must also underscore sustainability as much as possible because it improves the environmental performance of a project. Much of Draslovka’s process consists of staying by our customer’s side and explaining the process step by step.
Q: How did COVID-19 change the way Draslovka delivers its services?
A: During the COVID-19 pandemic, mining companies developed different protocols to tackle the problem. This posed a challenge for Draslovka since many did not allow visitors to the mining projects. Therefore, we leaned on technology as our best ally and launched virtual visits as well as training.
We kept in contact with our customers during these times to support them — this continues even now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. People always come first, however, and human interaction is crucial to truly engage with customers so face-to-face interaction remains an important facet of our process.
Q: What are the company’s objectives for Mexico this year?
A: Mexico represents 50% of Draslovka’s sales, which makes it one of our most relevant markets. The company also considers Mexico a key market for developing innovation strategies. Given the current lack of mining concessions, it is the perfect market to apply glycine leaching technology.
In this environment, mining companies are looking to get the most out of their current assets. Our glycine leaching technology allows companies to reprocess tailings and offers funding opportunities for companies. For instance, if a project in the exploration stage has a significant amount of ore stored from a long time ago, the owner can generate some cash flow from this existing ore by reprocessing it.
That is what we will be focused on in Mexico for 2023 because this technology is a game changer for mining companies. We have the capabilities to attend to this market’s needs since we have the strongest supply chain for sodium cyanide.
Draslovka is a Czech Republic-based company focused on chemical solutions. It holds a strong market position in the specialty chemical industry, offering sustainable products for several industries like agribusiness and mining.