Officials believe gold mine also exists in slag
Searchlight Minerals gets approval for occupancy
The company that is planning to extract minerals from the massive slag along the Verde River in Clarkdale, Searchlight Minerals, has announced that it has been given the go-ahead to occupy its newly reconditioned laboratory building at the old United Copper Company smelter site.
The 26,000-square-foot building is one of three structures at the former smelter that will be refurbished to suit a new industrial use.
Originally, the company hoped to extract 4 million ounces of gold from the slag along with other minerals. But, subsequent independent tests have shown the black glassy waste material may be even richer. A recent press release cites the 20.2 million tons of slag "contain approximately 0.50 ounces of gold per ton, along with silver, copper, zinc and a ferro silicate byproduct" (expected to be sold as a component for cement manufacture).
That estimate means the slag could contain as much as 10 million ounces of gold.
"We view receipt of the Certificate of Occupancy for the laboratory as the achievement of an important milestone in our journey to complete the construction, installation, testing and start-up of our initial production module," stated Ian McNeil, Chief Executive Office of Searchlight.
"In the coming weeks, we will install state-of the art analytical equipment in the laboratory that will allow our chemists to conduct immediate, on-site analyses of leaching results to further optimize the metals extraction process."
The building will house equipment for the initial production module, a 100 to 250 ton-per-day operation that will prove the company's technique. Eventually, Searchlight proposes to build a 2,000 ton-per-day module.
The company will renovate two other buildings, a main processing building and a separate building for the "electrowinning" equipment.