The movement toward a natural resource processing facility in 100 Mile House took a step forward when a zoning amendment was approved on Nov. 12.
District of 100 Mile House council adopted the zoning bylaw change after a public hearing held to accept public input.
No objections were made and favourable comments were received about the possibility for this new business, which could create up to six jobs.
The zoning change allows a potential facility at a Sollows Crescent property owned by local contractor Larry Henderson, which would be leased to Steve Hanson, a partner in IMG Gold Recovery Inc. of Burnaby.
Hanson is developing a similar method used in his pilot plant in Burnaby for the recovery of very fine gold, silver and platinum from “black sand” and other tailing materials from former placer mines.
The process is a non-chemical process that uses gravity and a small amount of water to remove the mineral, and then transports any leftover material back out of the community, he explains.
Henderson says these may be trucked in from around the province, or even imported.
“[IMG] is actually sampling sand from South America, and all over the place. It is interesting stuff, that’s for sure.”
The process extracts most of the 90 per cent of minerals left behind by typical placer mining operations, which take only the visible gold, he notes.
“These guys’ recovery is phenomenal. Something like 95 per cent … most people in the placer business usually don’t bother with it.”
Henderson says the building is on site, but now that the new zoning is approved, not much will likely happen until spring.
“They’re going to do a little renovating here, and then they’ll bring their big fancy machine up here that separates all of the mineral out of the black sand.
“If it wasn’t totally biodegradable, I probably wouldn’t let them get on there.”
The process is proven to work, but the local facility project “hasn’t got up off the ground yet,” he adds.
“There are going to be some issues getting black sand, but black sand is [otherwise] a hindrance to everybody; it’s got a lot of mineral in it. The old mines sites never collected the gold as [efficiently] as they do today … we sampled a lot of places, and the recovery looks pretty good on it.
“But, it’s the same old thing with permits and processes. It all takes time.”