In a climate of increased sensitivities about protecting the environment, Norman Haber anticipated a growing movement against the gold mining industry's dependence on cyanide leaching. Accordingly, he sought to develop a gold extraction technique which could meet or exceed the effectiveness of conventional methods yet somehow remain environmentally friendly. Haber's initial intuitions about a specific chemistry were on the mark, leading him to a basic system for handling the technical needs of the undertaking.
Today, following additional experimentation and refinements, Haber's proprietary technology - the Haber Gold Process (HGP) - is not only a green alternative to conventional methods, but it brings additional processing and economic advantages to the industry as well. Because HGP does not rely on cyanide, it is not burdened with the chemical costs of detoxifying effluent cyanide solutions. Processing expenses are also reduced because there is no need for the highly alkaline systems that conventional leaching operations must maintain in order to keep cyanide gases at bay.
In addition to reduced environmentally-based expenses, HGP processing does not require very fine grinding, vigorous agitation, or aeration, thereby eliminating the need for some of the costly capital equipment (such as ball mills) that must be used with conventional operations. HGP is also uniquely economical in that it will not extract the silver which often accompanies gold in ores. This is an advantage because the presence of silver contamination necessitates additional purification processes.
A number of outside agencies have analyzed and evaluated HGP against cyanide leaching, all of which have independently confirmed the effectiveness of the process.