Draslovka has the widest global reach of any global sodium cyanide (NaCN) supplier and provides most of the world's gold mining operations with NaCN for their leaching needs. Using this expertise in gold, Draslovka, which has bold ambitions, has now expanded into other strategic and critical metals and made several acquisitions to expand its global footprint within the sector.
In 2021, Draslovka purchased Chemours' mining business unit for US$521 million. This gave Draslovka access to sodium cyanide and hydrogen cyanide chemical producing capabilities in North America and several terminals across the Americas, leading to a 400% increase in company revenue.
In February 2022, Draslovka acquired Mining & Process Solutions (MPS), an Australian company that has given Draslovka proprietary ownership of Glycine Leaching Technology, or GLT, the most environmentally sustainable and cost-effective way to produce precious metals (gold) and critical minerals (nickel, copper and cobalt).
As the deal with MPS was announced, Oaktree Capital Management invested US$150 million to fund Draslovka's next growth stage, which will include the introduction of new products and services, organic growth in the NaCN market, inorganic M&A and a potential IPO.
The future of mining: Glycine Leaching Technology
GLT is a hydrometallurgical process that uses glycine, a non-toxic, fully biodegradable amino acid used in foods and nutritional supplements. The ingenious GLT process allows base and precious metal oxide, mixed oxide and sulphide ores to be leached with significantly lower environmental impacts.
For copper leaching, GlyLeachTM, the glycine replaces acids, such as sulphuric acid, to allow production from what would usually be unviable deposits. With nickel and cobalt, it means no smelting is needed and production from previously uneconomical tailings of a higher purity is possible.
Technology for the gold extraction, GlyCatTM, utilises a mixture of glycine and sodium cyanide. It reduces cyanide consumption by up to 80% and can work on a footprint of current leaching circuits on a drop-in basis. Moreover, it allows for the elimination of detoxification, saving companies an additional 5% - 10% in processing costs.
Barrick Gold is the first major mining company to recognise the potential GLT offers and recently signed an agreement with Draslovka to roll out a global testing and implementation programme across several mines, starting at Bulyanhulu Gold Mine in Tanzania. Largescale test work programmes will be undertaken at each site to quantify the operating cost savings from the reduction of cyanide usage and potential improvements in gold recovery and lower cut-off grades, all of which will allow Barrick's operations to treat ore types that may have previously been uneconomic.
Draslovka expects to announce more agreements with other mining companies over the next several months.
Pavel Bruzek, CEO at Draslovka, says, "GLT is a financially viable option and highly sustainable method for leaching critical metals. Most importantly, GLT is the key to unlocking the necessary supply needed for the energy transition by making uneconomic deposits viable, reducing cut-off grade and giving mining companies access to mineral wealth normally lost to tailings. While mining companies may not be able to find new deposits fast enough for the incredible demand we have today, they can extend the life and profitability of their assets that are in use or in development. This is in many ways the better option as those projects already have the necessary infrastructure, workforce, permits and local buy-in."
Ivor Bryan, Director of Mining Innovation at Draslovka, adds: "In addition to making miners' businesses more sustainable, GLT addresses other key pain points in the mining sector by keeping costs low, meeting and surpassing regulators' requirements and securing social license to operate. GLT has excellent environmental, economic and growth characteristics and requires significantly lower capital expenditure compared to conventional methods, which is ideal for companies that are managing their position on the cost curve."
With its recent acquisition of MPS, Draslovka is further enhancing its service offering to now provide a full suite of solutions, including consulting and deployment services. This push is enhanced by Draslovka's investment in the field of artificial intelligence: it has developed an AI tool that automates leaching processes both conventional and GLT based.
With its focus on emerging technologies, sustainability and major mining companies, like Barrick Gold, Draslovka's vision of revolutionising the mining industry is coming to fruition.
Draslovka is an attractive and exciting growth prospect that possesses the core attributes investors seek: a large addressable market, sought-after offering that will make an impact to its customers' bottom line and sustainability profile, and a strategy to create and crystalise value through a potential IPO.