Nevada’s Comstock Mining and its subsidiary has signed a definitive agreement with Mercury Clean Up (MCU) to manufacture mercury remediation systems.
In collaboration with Oro Industries, the agreement covers the manufacturing and deployment of mercury remediation systems with proprietary mechanical, hydro, electro-chemical and oxidation processes to reclaim and remediate mercury from tailings and industrial effluents derived from mining and other industrial applications.
As part of the agreement, Oro owns all intellectual property and MCU will gain exclusive worldwide rights to the proprietary mercury treatment system.
MCU, in collaboration with Comstock, will deploy the solution globally.
The continued use of mercury in unregulated activities around the world, especially outside the US, is contributing to the pollution of air, soils, and waters. It is also one of the major causes of poisoned marine life.
According to the company, unregulated artisanal mining outside of the US represents more than 40% of ongoing mercury contamination. It provides an enormous opportunity for cleaning up the environment in a sustainable, profitable manner.
The 2017 Minamata Convention on Mercury is a relatively new international treaty to support and protect human health and the environment from releases of mercury.
According to Comstock, the company has implemented several plans approved by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) over the last few years. These plans address NDEP’s and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protocols and goals for sampling, characterising and managing mercury within the Carson River Mercury Superfund site.
These plans, along with Comstock’s existing limited infrastructure, will offer a platform to evaluate and fine-tune the MCU process.
MCU will work closely with NDEP for additional approvals and other permits.
As per the terms of the agreement, Comstock will invest $2m in MCU, with right of first refusal on both business and capital investments. Comstock will own as much as 25% of MCU as well as 50% of a new 50-50 Comstock Mercury Remediation venture.
Comstock executive chairman and CEO Corrado De Gasperis said: “The goal of eliminating mercury contamination from the environment and current, ongoing mining processes profitably is a staggering opportunity for our planet, our partners and our company.”
Comstock is a gold and silver mining company with rich deposits in the Comstock district, while Oro provides chemical-free, environmentally safe gold mining equipment.