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Questions and Answers

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why are these valuable small-scale gold resources available?
A: Most of the gold deposits targeted by Innovation Mining have been the subject of extensive exploration programs but have fallen short of the grade and size necessary to justify the significant CAPEX necessary for a conventional gold mine. Some of them are historic gold producers that shut down due to low gold prices and never reopened due to insufficient resources even at todays prices. (the historic gold price was under $35  per ounce until 1970). Some of the dormant deposits are termed as "stranded" due to a number factors including environmental, financial, access, infrastructure, etc.

Innovation Mining's Q&A Page

Q: Why can Innovation Mining economically advance these deposits to production when others cannot?

A: Innovation Mining employs a unique combination of low-cost mining methods and innovative, low-cost extraction methods based on a safe, non-cyanide-based, hydrometallurgical process. This proprietary combination allows us to monetize these deposits with significantly reduced infrastructure, CAPEX, and OPEX costs. The eco-friendly nature of the process also typically streamlines and accelerates the permitting process.

 

Q: Is the Innovation Mining process environmentally friendly?
A: Yes. The process uses safe, water-based hydrometallurgical processes that operate with little or no environmental footprint. The solution and process water are both recycled and reused and results in a small environmental footprint, no effluent, with no tailings ponds, or off-gassing. It produces an almost pure gold product that does not require high C02 smelting which concentrates require. 

Q: How does this process unlock the value of small scale gold deposits?

A: Conventional modern gold mining require massive investment in infrastructure, resource development, mine planning, permitting, metallurgical studies, engineering, equipment, plant construction, and site remediation. This investment requires sufficient resources to justify this investment. Todays gold mines also require a minimal contained gold value necessary to operate the mine at a profit. The all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) comprise three different types of costs: first the cash costs, which include the pure extraction and processing costs. Second, there are the all-in cash costs, which denote not only the costs of exploration but also those of obtaining the production rights, financing, administration and taxes, as well as royalties. The third cost component comprises all types of expenses incurred in connection with the maintenance and development of a mine. While the AISC for the production of an ounce of gold were around 300 US$ per ounce in 2000, the costs have since seen an almost continuous rise. In 2012, they were already around 900 US$ per ounce and in the first quarter of 2022, they reached their highest level to date: 1,232 US$ per ounce. The novel combination of little or no resource development, low-cost mining methods, innovative extraction technologies, ane eco-friendly nature of the process allows Innovation Mining to develop the projects with a significantly reduced CAPEX and superior low-cost mine economics.

Q: How long is the leach cycle of the Innovation Mining process?

A: The leach cycle period is based on a number of variables including, material minerology and composition, crush size, porosity, permeability, grade, gold particle size, and leach kinetics. The leach cycle is determined in the lab and pilot-scale studies but will likely vary between 3 weeks and 60 days.

Q: What is a "Stranded" gold deposit?

A:  This describes a defined gold deposit that has a delineated estimated resource that has been deemed uneconomic to put into production for one of a number of reasons. These include size and financial limitations, project access and infrastructure, water shortage, environmental reasons, metallurgical challenges, cyanide prohibition, etc. The opportunity to unlock the value of these deposits or stranded assets lies at the heart of the Innovation Mining business model. Building the road to Stranded Mining Assets

Q: What is the definition of deposit?

A: Mineral deposits are naturally occurring accumulations or concentrations of metals or minerals of sufficient size and concentration that might, under favorable circumstances, have economic value. Economic concentrations of metals or other mineral commodities are known as ore. Gold Deposits

 

Q: What is the estimated production rate of the Innovation Mining process?

A: The production rate is determined by a number of factors including, leach kinetics, crush size, deposit size, location, access, deposit nature, strip-ratio, etc. A typical operation would consist of 2 or 3 of the 2,500 tonne vats sharing the same infrastructure and systems. Each vat is estimated to process 100 tonnes per Day (30KTPA)

Q: Does the Innovation Mining process help reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions such as carbon dioxide?

A: Yes, while any process is going to generate some carbon emissions from mineral excavation and hauling, the Innovation Mining small-scale process provides a cost-effective alternative to the massive-scale bulk mining of low-grade ores and the high carbon producing practise of smelting high-grade ores and concentrates.. The use of smelters by the mining industry accounts for over 40% of the sectors entire carbon footprint.

Q: What is the estimated recovery of gold from the host material?

A:  Management is estimating a conservative 65% to 75% recovery of gold over the standard leach cycle. This is based on past data from whole ore (unground) material tests in the selected lixiviant/formula. This is similar to that of conventional heap leaching and will vary significantly from project to project. The  company is currently experimenting with different crush and grind size, as well as extended leach periods to increase these recoveries. A significant part of the qualification process for a project is based on the efficiency of the leaching process on the target materials. The recovery rate may be lower than other extraction processes but still typically offer overall superior economics due to the low-cost nature of the Innovation Mining process.


Q: How many small-scale gold deposits exist?
A: We estimate that there are thousands of small-scale gold deposits that meet our minimum criteria globally. The company is actively forging relationships with mining companies and partners worldwide. According to the EPA and USGS, there are over 32,000 closed mines in the USA alone.

Q: Does Innovation Mining provide good leverage to the price of gold?

A: Typically, the near-term, low cost-nature of the deposits under contract, represent a significant discounted value to the current price of gold. The lower AIS costs also reduce exposure to adverse gold prices.

Q: How does Innovation Mining provide a low risk quotient to gold mining compared to other miners?

A: Innovation Mining does not have exposure to high-risk exploration or resource development. It takes advantage of results from historic and costly exploration and resource development programs. In most cases, extensive geological, technical and metallurgical studies and reports have been completed, which provides resource data at little or no cost to Innovation Mining. Before Innovation Mining invests time or money on a prospective project, it will perform comprehensive research and lab scale amenability tests and would require positive results to justify moving to the next stage of qualification. Additionally, significantly lower CAPEX, and low cash costs per ounce mitigates the negative impacts of adverse commodity prices.


Q: What type of low-cost mining does Innovation Mining use?
A: Innovation Mining will typically employ low-cost, near-surface bulk mining methods which include open cut methods. Some of the target projects have stockpiled economic material on surface or in large tailings piles which may require no excavation or crushing.


Q: What does it cost to mine and recover the gold?
A: The cost to set up the Innovation Mining operation depends on location, grade, geology, deposit size, minerology, and leach kinetics.  These determine the optimal mining rate and plant design. The CAPEX amounts can be less than $5M, and the all-in sustaining costs as low as $600 per ounce depending on ore complexity and head grade. This is less than half the industry average.


Q: How does Innovation Mining extract the gold from the rock?
A: The selected hydrometallurgical process consists of an aqueous solution that has an ionic/chemical reaction with the contained gold to “solubilize” or dissolve it into solution. The gold is recovered from solution using conventional extraction process such as ION exchange resins, carbon,  and/or electrowinning. This produces a metallic residue which is shipped to a refiner for the final production of gold bars.


Q: Does the Innovation Mining process work on all rocks/materials (e.g., sulfides, oxides, refractory)?
A: No, it does not work on everything. Nothing does. Some the host minerals are not amenable to leaching and may require fine grinding or even pressurized oxidation in some cases to expose the gold for hydrometallurgical extraction. This amenability would be determined at the early test stages. The process has been proven at scale to work on both oxide and sulfide based ores/materials. It has also been proven to work economically in the presence of some of the deleterious minerals that cyanide cannot.


Q: Does the Innovation Mining process require a tailings dam (compound)?
A: No, the Innovation Mining process uses large vats to soak the rock and pumps the formula through the bed and overflows and the "pregnant" gold rich solution is pumped into tanks, filters, and ion exchange columns where the gold is extracted and then the solution is reused. Following the leach cycle (10 to 90 days), the bed is drained and rinsed with fresh water to clean the residue and recover any residual chemistry. This rinse water is also treated and recycled. Consequently, there is no effluent, and as such, no need for a tailings compound.


Q: How fine does the mineralized material need to be crushed?
A: The preferred target size is typically between ¼ inch and 2 inches in size. This will vary depending on mineralogy and availability of the free gold to encounter the formula/solution to be dissolved into aqueous solution. Typically the finer the grind, the faster the recovery process.


Q: Does the Innovation Mining process tails produce Acid (ARD)?
A: The preferred target projects are typically oxide-based gold deposits. Acid rock drainage is the result of fluids encountering exposed sulfide-based minerals which lower the pH of the resulting fluids. The Innovation Mining solution does extract gold from sulfide materials and the project selection and permitting process would take this into consideration.


Q: What kind of hydrometallurgy does Innovation Mining use to recover the gold?
A: Innovation Mining has selected an eco-friendly, water-based inorganic and/or electrochemical process as it's hydrometallurgical formula. This unique lixiviant/formula quickly dissolves the gold into solution as a highly stable gold complex. It is then recovered from solution using conventional industry extraction processes such as ION exchange and/or electrowinning. This unique formula solubilizes the gold at a rate equal to or better than conventional cyanide and with similar leach kinetics but is non-toxic.

Q: What other metals can be recovered using the process? 
A: The Innovation Mining process predominantly recovers gold and silver. Other metals that are soluble in the formula include aluminum, lithium, uranium, cobalt, copper, iridium, and others.


Q: What is the operating temperature and pH of the Innovation Mining process?
A: The Innovation Mining chemical process operates at a neutral pH and ambient temperature and pressure. It operates in a broad spectrum of all environmental conditions.


Q: What happens if there is a leak or spill of the Innovation Mining Solution?
A: The chosen ingredients that we use on our process are predominantly comprised of FDA approved chemicals and elements and normally operates at a neutral pH and is safe on vegetation and/or wildlife. The operating environment will have a containment berm or liner to prevent chemical and water loss in the event of a spill.


Q: Does the property need power and water?
A: The Innovation Mining process has a very low power and water consumption and can typically operate with a portable diesel generator. The process solution and rinse water are recycled and reused which leads to almost zero effluent and low water consumption. In some cases, depending on minerology and temperature, the scheduled trucking of water will suffice.


Q: Do the Innovation Mining post process material (tailings) need to be treated or placed on a lined containment pond?
A: The post processed material (tailings) has been exposed to  safe, benign solution and then rinsed with fresh water to remove any residual chemistry. Unlike conventional cyanide-based processes which produce contaminated tailings that must be placed on a double lined containment area and monitored.


Q: Is the process sustainable? And how does impact fish, waterfowl, or other animals?
A: Yes. We strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible and operate in small environmental footprint. The chosen reagents and chemicals we use on our process are comprised of FDA approved ingredients and operate at a neutral pH. The nature of the process involves the recycling and reusing of both the reagents and process water so there is no tailings dam required. The post processed material (tailings) are rinsed with fresh water to remove any residual chemistry and eventually landscaped or placed back in the mine.


Q: Who owns the property that the deposit is on?
A: The properties we would advance to production will have a variety of business relationships including straight ownership by property acquisition, leases, options, partnerships, joint ventures, and royalty-based agreements.


Q: What is the cut off grade The Innovation Mining process could economically recover?
A: The economics are determined by a several factors including mining costs, extraction costs, recoveries, royalties payable, and the price of gold. Our preferred minimum for standard extraction is 2 grams of gold per tonne.


Q: What is the minimum size of deposit you require?
A: Typically, we prefer a resource of 250,000 to 750,000 tonnes, or larger, with a gold grade of more than 1.25 grams per tonne . It also depends on the project stage of development, deposit characteristics, geological nature, amenability to leach, gold grade, mine strip ratio, permitting, etc.

Q: Does Innovation Mining exclusively use dynamic vat leaching (DVL) in its processes?

A: No. We will use the most economic and efficient process necessary based on the nature of the deposit and the host geology and mineralogy. In some cases, simple gravity separation/concentration may be the most suitable and cost-effective method. Others may benefit from a combination of processes.


Q: What sort of qualification process is done on a prospective project?
A: Before there is a production decision, there several tests and/or steps in the process to pre-qualify. These include:

 

1. Business Development and Opportunity Identification: Innovation Mining reviews historic and modern mineral resource data from geological reports, resource estimates, mine production data and leverages the expertise of our professionals to identify possible resource recovery opportunities, using key site characteristics and metrics related to grade, metallurgy, volume, potential leach kinetics and recoveries.

2. Preliminary Metallurgical Evaluation: Innovation Mining will typically perform basic metallurgical evaluation of the subject material to determine sample grades and other relevant extractive characteristics such as amenability to concentration and non-cyanide-based leaching.

3. Preliminary Study: Pre-qualified opportunities undergo an in-depth initial study, which includes an economic, and environmental review, and a detailed assessment that is used for a management review of the opportunity.  At this time a more advanced metallurgical study is performed which may include gravity recovery (GRG), bottle roll and column tests. An initial regulatory review may be undertaken during the Initial Study is intended to identify regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the site, and key permits and work notices required for operations along with associated fees and lead times. Initial Non-Disclosure Agreements and engagement with the property owner/operator is done via Letter of Agreement to ensure rights and to acquire site-related data, negotiate the execution of a contract and provide access to the site to conduct advanced analysis. This initial commercial agreement is intended to secure the mining rights to contingent upon Innovation Mining satisfying internal requirements for project economics and viability. 

4. Advanced Project Analysis: Contingent upon the results of the Initial Study, Innovation Mining will proceed with the detailed phase of project feasibility and economic review. Activities undertaken during this phase are intended to increase Innovation Mining’s confidence in the project opportunity, select a final optimized process flow for optimized metal recovery, prepare environmental and other submissions, and develop operational plans.

5. Implementation and Production: Following the internal and site review and receipt of required operating permits, and contingent upon a final executive review, Innovation Mining will deploy its resource recovery teams on site in conjunction with strategic services partners to start site engineering and construction, mobilization of modular components, surface mining, material preparation and stockpiling followed by resource recovery. Throughout the operational period, Innovation Mining will compile operational data, including metallurgical, recoveries, statistics, metal sales accounting, and provide its partners with transparent and timely reporting.


Q: How do you test the host material to determine the gold content?
A: The project owner/operator will send 20 liters (5 Gallons) of representative samples to the Innovation Mining labs where it will be analyzed to determine the amenability vat leaching and the formula. There are numerous tests performed on the material including assays by fire, atomic absorption, ICP, aqua regia XRF, crush and grind size analysis, bottle roll tests, static tests, column tests, recovery tests, bulk-scale tests, and chemical consumption analysis.


Q: How do you confirm the gold resource is in place?
A: Typically, the only projects that Innovation Mining would consider suitable are projects with existing resources that have been previously delineated by drilling as part of a past comprehensive exploration program. There will usually be a certified detailed resource estimate (NI 43-101) on the property or drill logs that can be viewed and confirmed. In all cases, if the projects advance past lab and data review, a Innovation Mining team member will visit the property to view and take bulk samples the target materials.

Q: How does the Innovation Mining process help small-scale artisanal miners in developing nations?

A: Innovation Mining recognizes the need for the millions of artisanal miners globally who rely on gold mining for their basic sustenance. Innovation Mining is committed to providing cost-effective programs and alternatives to these developing nations. As many of these practises employ the use of toxic substances such as mercury and cyanide to aid in the extraction of the gold, we can help reduce or eliminate this usage entirely.

 

Q: Does it work on post-processed mining materials (tailings?)
A: Yes, the Innovation Mining process will work on most gold mining tailings, providing the gold is “free” in nature and not constrained within the matrix of the host rock (refractory). The grade and stockpile size would still have to be economically feasible.


Q: How many tailings projects exist?

A: Gold mining tails exist from all past mining of gold, including the Spanish mining in the America’s dating back as far as the 1,500’s. In the US alone, there are over 32,000 past producing mining operations.

Cautionary Statement: The Management and Executive of Innovation Mining strives for transparency and accuracy on all statements, claims, and representations.  Management believes these answers to be accurate. Most of the estimations and data included in these answers are based on variables outside of management's control. Each ore/mineral/deposit is unique in nature and as such, all results will vary.  Innovation Mining cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data or representations and cautions all readers to use their own best judgment and research.

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