Itronics Advances Its Rock Kleen Silver/Gold Heap Leach Tailings Process Development

Share this article

Major Positive Possibilities for Mining Industry

RENO, Nevada, July 28 2020 – Itronics Inc. (OTC:ITRO), an emerging “Cleantech Materials” growth Company that produces GOLD’n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilizers and Silver, updates its proprietary Rock Kleen Silver/Gold Tailings Processing Technology development which was described in detail in a press release dated April 2, 2020.

Itronics is announcing today that its wholly-owned technical services subsidiary, Whitney & Whitney, Inc., has secured a contract to advance testing on a major heap leach tailings resource that has recoverable silver, gold, and zinc, and other base and ferrous metals including copper, lead, nickel, manganese, and iron. Preliminary test work completed in 2019 showed the Rock Kleen Technology was successful in recovering these metals.  The 2019 test work illustrated that a potential project existed that could produce silver and gold, and base and ferrous metals, and with the “cleaning” properties of removing cyanide residuals and nitrogen by Rock Kleen make the cleaned heap leach tailings suitable for use as industrial minerals.

“The Itronics ‘Power of Zero’ philosophy is focused on using 100% of resources resulting in zero waste products.  Issues related to finding a better way to store mine waste becomes a moot point when all of the materials become useable or salable products,” stated Dr. John Whitney, Founder and CEO of Itronics, Inc.  “Legacy issues that haunt mining companies relate to what they leave behind after their targeted minerals can no longer support an operation.  By converting all the resource into useable or salable products and leaving less behind, Rock Kleen will greatly reduce the legacy issues, as what is left behind has been cleaned of its detrimental properties.”

Test work at the Itronics Metallurgical laboratory on material from two separate silver and gold closed heap leach tailings sites has provided positive results in terms of neutralizing residual cyanide to below drinking water standards and recovering nitrogen introduced by using ammonium nitrate or urea as a blasting agent to break the rocks in the mining process.  The nitrogen component of the cyanide is recovered by the Rock Kleen liquid and the nitrogen introduced by blasting is also recovered by the Rock Kleen liquid, thereby removing these potential ground water contaminants from the rock.  Once the residual cyanide and nitrogen are removed, the rock may be suitable for use in site reclamation or to produce industrial minerals for sale.  These industrial minerals include crushed rock, fine crushed rock, feldspars, clays and micas.

The testing has shown that residual silver and gold are also recovered by the Rock Kleen Liquid.  Silver is preferentially recovered, but the testing indicates that residual gold is also recovered.  In the samples tested, the gold content is at the limits of detection and the silver values were highly variable making quantification of the silver and gold recovery percentage difficult.  The actual metal recovered was established by measuring the total metal content of the Rock Kleen liquid.  More testing is required related to measurements of the starting content of the leached material and recoverability because indications are that leach piles from different mine sites will have significant silver and gold measurement variability as well as variable recoverability characteristics due to differences in ore mineralogy and metallurgy, making the metal recovery characteristics of each site unique to that site.

The testing has also shown that other metals are recovered by the Rock Kleen liquid.  For example, the two sets of materials that have been tested were from heap leach operations that used the Merrill-Crowe process to recover the silver and gold from the cyanide solution.  This process uses zinc powder to precipitate the silver and gold from solution and the zinc is then deposited into the leach pile.  The Rock Kleen testing that has been completed shows that the zinc is recovered by the Rock Kleen solution.  The testing has also shown that other metals are being recovered as well.  These other metals include manganese and iron, copper, nickel, and lead.  It appears from testing that cadmium, mercury, and arsenic may be rejected by the Rock Kleen liquid, leaving those metals in the rock in a non-soluble form, but more testing is required to validate this.

Whitney & Whitney has chosen, for purposes of introducing the Rock Kleen Tailings Processing Technology, to target silver and gold heap leach tails previously processed using the Merrill-Crowe silver and gold recovery system.  Mines that use the Merrill-Crowe system typically have a high silver to gold ratio and often silver recoveries are poor, creating an opportunity for positive economic results based on recovery of residual silver, gold, and zinc.  Some of these silver/gold heap leach operations have more complex ore mineralogy providing an opportunity for recovery of economic amounts of other metals as well.

Some silver/gold ores are enriched in manganese and iron which are known to tie up the silver and reduce silver recoveries when using cyanide as a leaching agent. Rock Kleen has demonstrated an ability to recover manganese and separate the iron to release the silver that is tied up by the manganese and iron, making the silver recoverable.

“Lower grade deposits mean less margin between profit and break even.  Tailings costs often can make the difference between a go or no-go decision in terms of developing a mine,” said John Key, Vice President, Projects for Whitney & Whitney, Inc.  Whitney & Whitney markets the Rock Kleen technology for Itronics.  “When additional metals/minerals are profitably recovered and tailings become a revenue component of the total revenue stream instead of a major cost, potential resources that were sub-grade ore can now become profitable to mine.”

“The mining industry is extremely concerned about the management of tailings, especially as companies increasingly rely on large-scale extraction of ever-lower grade ore deposits, a process that yields large volumes of waste materials,” said Pricilla Nelson, professor of mining engineering at Colorado School of Mines a founding member of the Tailings Center of Excellence.  “Finding ways to sustainably manage tailings is a matter of social and corporate responsibility.”  She continued: “The center is going to be interested in not just the safe disposal of mine tailings but also what we can do with the tailings that represent new products.  The idea of creating downstream projects would bring the mining industry more strongly into the global circular economy.”

Itronics is taking steps to address the global circular economy through its “Zero Waste Energy Saving” Technologies.  Rock Kleen targets maximum metal extraction and utilization of 100% of a resource.  Mining companies tend to build mines based upon the extraction of one to three metals while discarding the rest.  Rock Kleen targets the whole resource.

Rock Kleen Advantages (From the April 2 press release cited above.)

  • Targets utilization of 100% of the resource
  • Redefines “ore” by valuing the whole resource
  • Recovers precious, base, and ferrous metals
  • Cleans the rock of cyanide and nitrogen
  • Can be used in conjunction with currently established processing procedures
  • Cleans leached rock to make it available for industrial minerals products
  • Eliminates or reduces capital cost of tailings storage
  • Makes project permitting easier and quicker in some cases
  • Eliminates or greatly reduces bonding requirements of heap leach tailings or mill tailings impoundments by eliminating the need for them

“We believe that cyanide is the best solvent to recover gold and that Rock Kleen Technology could ultimately prove to be the best process to remove cyanide and nitrogen from the processed rock and to recover residual silver, gold, zinc, and other metals making the processed rock useable for site remediation or for processing to produce industrial minerals for sale,” said Dr. Whitney. The Rock Kleen Technology continues to advance and Whitney & Whitney, Inc is ready to provide interested parties with preliminary assessment of the potential for a total resource project.

About Itronics

Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Itronics Inc. is an emerging Cleantech Growth Company that uses proprietary multi-nutrient fertilizer manufacturing technologies to produce GOLD’n GRO multi-nutrient fertilizers and breakthrough Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies to recover fertilizer ingredients, silver bullion, and silver-bearing glass from waste streams that contain silver, gold, copper, zinc, tin, and other metals.  The Company’s goal is to achieve profitable clean technology driven organic growth in specialty GOLD’n GRO fertilizers, silver, zinc, and minerals.  The Company’s technologies maximize the recovery and uses of metals and minerals and by doing this maximize sustainability.

The Company’s environmentally friendly award winning GOLD’n GRO liquid fertilizers, which are extensively used in agriculture, can be used for lawns and houseplants, and are available at the Company’s “e-store” on Amazon.Com at Due to expanded retail customer interest, GOLD’n GRO fertilizer may now be purchased in Reno, Nevada at “Buy Nevada First Gift Shop”, 4001 S. Virginia St.

Follow Itronics on Facebook:

Follow Itronics on Twitter:

* * * * * * * * * *


* * * * * * * * * *


John Key
(775) 689-7666


(“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This press release contains or may contain forward-looking statements such as statements regarding the Company’s growth and profitability, growth strategy, liquidity and access to public markets, operating expense reduction, and trends in the industry in which the Company operates.  The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are also subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those more fully described in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in risks, uncertainties or assumptions underlying or affecting such statements, or for prospective events that may have a retroactive effect.)

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don't miss the


Exclusive editorial

Breaking News

Quality Company Coverage

Expert Writers

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Resource World Magazine will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.