A photo of a deep open pit mine clearly showing the terraces used by miners to access the bottom of the pit.

A conventional open pit gold mine.

Gold mining without a mine

A new method to mine gold without the expense of digging and crushing ore is being developed by CSIRO for use in areas not suited to conventional mining. (5:59)

  • 1 February 2010

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Today in Australia, as in other countries, it’s the conventional hard rock and open pit mining operations that produce most of the world's gold.

Due to the expense of this type of mining, much of the gold in marginal deposits and remote areas remains untouched.

This situation might be about to change with a new CSIRO study on an in situ (or in-place) leaching system that doesn’t involve the use of cyanide.

In this podcast, Mr Paul Roberts from CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship explains how the new technique uses a more environmentally friendly chemical system to economically recover gold from near surface oxide ores.

Read more about Minerals Down Under Flagship.