$10 Million Prize Awaits Silver Solution

Barrick Gold Corporation of Toronto is inviting scientists, engineers, and inventors to find a solution to an unsolved mining puzzle. A $10 million performance bonus will be paid for a method or technology that is successfully implemented, the company announced this week. The National Mining Association's weekly newsletter reported on the contest Sept. 21.

The challenge is finding a way to recover silver from Barrick's Veladero gold mine in Argentina. Geologists have determined there are 180 million ounces of silver contained in the mine's gold reserves, with much of the silver encapsulated in silica. Barrick's contest site, www.unlockthevalue.com, says traditional methods of mining, mineral processing, and extractive metallurgy have recovered only 6.7 percent of the silver.

The company will fund the research, pay a consulting fee, provide resources and expertise, and help develop and test the idea for proposals that are judged to have merit. Jan. 21, 2008, is the deadline for submitting Phase 1 proposals; participants are required to register and must present their proposals in English. In addition, all submissions must adhere to Barrick's commitments in safety and health, environment, and social responsibility, the company says.

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