My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: AUSJAM and the Pennants Gold Mine Rush - King Solomon's Mines in Clarendon

Thursday, July 21, 2011

AUSJAM and the Pennants Gold Mine Rush - King Solomon's Mines in Clarendon

Every door is barred with Gold, and opens but to Golden keys.

Abraham Cowley, Anacreontics: Gold

It looks like AUSJAM Limited, that plucky Australian Gold prospector that made headlines back in 2001AD when they mine two thousand six hundred (2600 oz) ounces of Gold back in 2004AD as stated in the article “Ausjam mines 2,600 ozs of Gold”, published Saturday November 3 2001, The Jamaica Gleaner, may be back in the island. 

And here was I thinking we only had Oil, with Sagres Energy from Canady still looking for a partner to do Oil Exploration as stated in my blog article entitled “The 4.2 EarthQuake - Simon Crosskill and Neville Bell are Children of Fire Mountain”!

This as declared from the Government of Jamaica horse’s mouth, namely the Jamaica Information Service as stated in the article “Gold Mining Could Resume Soon”, published WEDNESDAY, 20 JULY 2011 16:56 BY JIS and reprinted in The Jamaica Observer article entitled “Gold mining could resume soon”, published Thursday, July 21, 2011, JIS, The Jamaica Observer.

This as there are additional deposits of Gold in the area as was declared at a Media Briefing at NEPA's Cross Roads, St. Andrew offices on July 18th 2011Ad hosted by NEPA CEO, Peter Knight (any relation to K.D. Knight Q.C of Manatt Commission fame?). Commissioner of the Mines and Geology Division, Ministry of Energy and Mining, Clinton Thompson who spoke, quote: “That was why closure of the mine was not affected. When the mine (was being) operated, Gold was less than US$300 per ounce; it’s now US$1,500. You can recognise the importance of that deposit, which is the patrimony of the Jamaican people”.

This occurred in the process of NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) containing the recent Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) spill in Pennants, Clarendon after responding to reports of a cow dying after drinking water in Pennants, Clarendon near remnants of the operation that AUSJAM Limited abandoned some two (2) years ago in July 2010AD, declaring it now a restricted area as stated in the article “Gold mining site declared restricted area”, published 13-07-2011 14:54:41, Go-Jamaica.

Back then NEPA had served AUSJAM Limited with a stop order to cease operations due to breaches of their license to operate in Pennants, Clarendon as stated in the article “Owner of Ausjam Mining returns following News of chemical contamination”, published Monday July 18th 2011, RJR News.

NEPA decided to revoke AUSJAM Limited’s license, which they had obtained from the NRCA (Natural Resources Conservation Authority) in 1997AD, thus prompting AUSJAM Limited to move to declare a renewed interest while responding to the Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) spill as stated in the article “Owner of Ausjam Mining returns following News of chemical contamination”, published Monday July 18th 2011, RJR News, especially in light of the fact that Gold prices is now at US$1500 an ounce compared to US$280.10 and ounce back in 2001AD!

A similar value increase in the price of Gold is what kept Shawn Ryan and his wife, Cathy Wood searching since the early 90's in the Yukon Mountains in Canada and in the process, rediscovering Gold and revitalizing the entire town of Dakota City, Yukon, Canada some one hundred (100) years since the Klondike Gold Rush.

In the process becoming millionaires several times over in a story only ABC News can best present in the article “From Tin Shack to Millionaire: Canadian Prospector Leads a New Klondike Gold Rush”, published July 20, 2011 By DAVID WRIGHT and SCOTT SHULMAN, ABC News.

“Ditto” is the word that explains why the Sutter Gold Mine in Sutter Creek, California is being restarted after being inactive for nearly twenty (20) years with Sutter Gold Mining Inc CEO Bob Hutmacher lining up US$20 million in venture capital money to restart his Gold mining operation in the Sierra foothills, one hundred and twenty (120) miles east of San Francisco.

Again, the abnormally high Gold prices make it economically feasible to mine Gold, even in small quantities as stated in the article “Sutter Gold Mine To Reopen”, published July 1, 2011 4:29 PM, Sacramento, CBS News Local.

But back to my little speck in the Caribbean Sea!

The Clarendon public now warned of the danger, NEPA declared its intention to have the mine owners, AUSJAM Limited, remove the Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) contaminant from the area at no cost to the Taxpayer with a JA$2 million bond placed on AUSJAM Limited to reactivate their Mining License as stated in the article “Sodium Cyanide to be moved from inactive Gold mining site”, published 19-07-2011 09:42:50, Go-Jamaica.

The Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) is to be stored by PetroJAM (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica), with the remaining amount that has contaminated ground water being neutralized carefully with a solution of Hydrogen Peroxide as stated in the article “Petrojam To Store Cyanide From Clarendon Gold Mine”, published Wednesday July 20, 2011, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Government of Jamaica soon caught wind of this and soon Water and Housing Minister Dr Horace Chang and Energy and Mining Minster Clive Mullings toured the facility as stated in the article “Chang tours inactive Gold mining site”, published 20-07-2011 12:48:13, Go-Jamaica, apparently intrigued at the fact that such a unique facility even existed in Jamaica that mined Gold.

Aside from the additional taxable revenue and levy, it could also serve as a source of employment to people from the community of Pennants, Clarendon, a political windfall for JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) on the eve of the 2012 Election as evidenced by the statements of Senator Pearnel Charles, Labour and Social Security, quote: “Between 20 and 30 persons used to get employment from this little operation. We understand we still have small reserves that could be explored, and we could continue mining. We want to carry on the mining,”

Good news for Jamaica's only Gold assayist, Sylvia Richard of Clarendon, now possibly an accountant, who was laid off in 2004AD when the AUSJAM Limited Gold mine ceased operations as stated in the article “Sylvia Richards: Leaving the Goldmine to start again”, published Monday, March 08, 2004 by Taneisha Davidson, The Jamaica Observer.

This as Gold has been in the News of late as far back as 2010AD, with The Jamaica Observer even offering tips on how to go become a legitimate Cash-for-Gold Trader as stated in the article “Starting a 'Cash for Gold' business”, published Sunday, July 17, 2011, The Jamaica Observer.

This is a process that has to be done gradually, as the risk of Cyanide Gas being produced is very real. You may be wondering why Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) is used in Gold production. Its production is facilitated by treating Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN) with Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH):

HCN + NaOH → NaCN + H2O

This is then reacted with Gold (Au) ore to form an Inorganic Complex that can be separated using distilled water:

4 Au + 8 NaCN + O2 + 2 H2O → 4 Na[Au(CN)2] + 4 NaOH

The Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) comes into the picture by virtue of the fact that it readily oxidizes the Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) to Harmless Sodium Cyanate (NaOCN) salts and Water (H2O), thus neutralizing it!:

NaCN + H2O2 → NaOCN + H2O

But a catch naturally exist! In nature, river water may be slightly acidic due to dissolved Carbon Dioxide and may react with Sodium Cyanide (NaCN) to produce poisonous Hydrogen Cyanide Gas, which is best associated with Gas Chambers used by Adolf Hitler in Auswitz and Treblinka:

 H+ + NaCN → HCN + Na

Here the H+ represents Hydrogen ions associated with acidic solutions. Thus case has to be taken in the application of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) to water so as to effectively neutralize as much of the Sodium Cyanide (NaCN).

So as the cleanup progresses and AUSJAM Limited, Jamaica may eventually, like our Neighbors to the North, not only experience an Oil Rush, The Beverly Hillbillies (TV Series 1962–1971) style but also a Gold rush  King Solomon's Mines (1985) Style!

FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) anyone for Oil and Gold exploration in Jamaica?


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