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MEI Online: Biotechnology: Latest News: June 6th 2003


:: Perseverance opts for bacteria

Melbourne-based Perseverance Corporation Ltd has announced that it has selected the Gold Fields Ltd BIOX® process as its preferred technology for the treatment of Fosterville mineralisation, 20km east of Bendigo.

BIOX® is a patented bacterial process designed to break down the sulphide lattice that contains the gold in the Fosterville mineralisation, enabling subsequent extraction by conventional cyanidation.

Perseverance executive chairman John Quinn said: "The Company has conducted extensive research and analysis on Fosterville material at Gold Fields BIOX® research facilities in South Africa. Pressure Oxidation was also analysed as an alternative oxidation process. These studies revealed the Fosterville material could be readily oxidized by either process, with no apparent difference in overall gold recoveries. In addition, gold recoveries via the BIOX® process are expected to be 90% or greater.

Perseverance representatives also visited Ashanti's Obuasi BIOX® and Placer's Porgera Pressure Oxidation operations to gain a first hand understanding of operability, cost and maintenance issues associated with each technology.

Ashanti and Placer have operated the alternate technologies to treat material that is broadly similar to Fosterville material for many years. These visits and investigation of other comparable operations confirmed that both technologies are well established and proven.

Concurrently Perseverance's engineering consultants generated capital and operating cost estimates to similar confidence levels for each technology. These cost estimates enabled economic comparisons to be undertaken. Quinn said: "The decision to select the BIOX® process was made after a comprehensive evaluation of a range of considerations. The key reasons for selecting the process were:-

* Comparative capital and operating cost advantages;
* Higher confidence levels in the process based on more extensive testing;
* Greater scale up flexibility.

Perseverance has signed a Licence Agreement with Gold Fields which provides for the use of the BIOX® patented process and for engineering and metallurgical support from Gold Fields during the design, construction and commissioning of the BIOX® circuit.


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