ICMI Proposes Extending Cyanide Code to Include Primary Silver Mines

The International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI) today proposed to extend the International Cyanide Management Code for the Manufacture, Transport and Use of Cyanide in the Production of Gold (Cyanide Code) to include the production of silver from primary silver mines using cyanide in the production process. A primary silver mine is defined as an operation where silver is the main commodity produced. ICMI seeks comment from Cyanide Code stakeholders about the proposed change to the program.

At present, participation of mines in the Cyanide Code is limited to those operations using cyanide to leach gold from ore (the cyanidation process).

Cyanide is used to recover silver in the same manner used to recover gold, but typically requires a higher cyanide concentration. Because the risks to human health and the environment from the manufacture, transport and use of cyanide in the silver industry are similar to those presented by the gold industry, making certification under the program available to the silver sector is a logical next step in the evolution of the Cyanide Code. The producers and transporters of the cyanide used in primary silver production would also be included in the expanded program. About 30 percent of the world’s silver production comes from primary silver mines, where silver is the focus of production; the balance is produced as a co-product from polymetallic, base metal, or gold mines.

Since the production processes and safe cyanide management practices in both the gold and silver industries are the same, only minor revisions of program documentation would be necessary. A signatory fee structure for silver mining companies based on “gold equivalent ounces” of silver production (e.g., the ratio of the metals’ prices), would be needed to include primary silver producers in the program.

ICMI solicits input from Cyanide Code stakeholders on the proposed expansion of the scope of the program, including its advisability, any policy or technical issues it raises, as well as any other related issues that ICMI should consider about this proposed change to the program. Stakeholders wishing to comment are requested to provide written comments to ICMI President Paul Bateman at [email protected] by no later than October 14, 2016. ICMI will announce its final action on the proposed Cyanide Code expansion after its Board of Directors has considered stakeholder comments.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016