March 17, 2017
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Cyanco is delivering cyanide to Newmont Mining Corp.’s Cripple Creek and Victor Mine in Colorado from a new terminal in Cheyenne, Wyo.
The solution sodium cyanide comes from Cyanco’s Winnemucca plants via Union Pacific rail cars, and then TransWood Inc. transfers the sodium cyanide at the terminal to the trucks that then travel to the gold mine near the historic town of Cripple Creek.
“The terminal is owned and operated by TransWood, but Cyanco designed the terminal and provided technical assistance”, said Tobin Kueper, who is technical services manager for Cyanco and closely associated with the Cheyenne terminal.
Train tracks go inside the terminal and allow for two rail cars to be there at one time for transferring the sodium cyanide to the trucks. “The terminal uses a vapor balance system, so there are zero emissions associated with transloading from the rail cars to the trucks”, Kueper said. TransWood employees handle the transloading and the transport to Cripple Creek, while Cyanco closely monitors the customer and terminal activities.
TransWood began delivering Cyanco’s solution product to Cripple Creek from Cheyenne on Jan. 2, replacing truck deliveries of solid sodium cyanide from Cyanco’s production facility in the Houston area of Texas.
Kueper said the transition from the solid sodium cyanide to the solution sodium cyanide and the Cheyenne terminal provide “a lot of flexibility” for both Newmont and Cyanco.
“We monitor tank levels here and provide a Vendor Managed Inventory for Cripple Creek, and each mine site location has improved storage capacity in case trucks can’t make the trip due to weather”, Kueper said.
“The CC&V Mine continues to receive a safe and steady supply of product from Cyanco. It has been a smooth transition to the new transportation arrangements,” said Jack Henris, general manager of the CC&V Mine.
Kueper said providing the solution sodium cyanide to Newmont at Cripple Creek is also more efficient. There now are no issues with handling water in cold weather to mix solid sodium cyanide, and offload time at the mine site is significantly shorter.
Along with the newly constructed terminal, the TransWood site at Cheyenne took over a large building already on the property that is used for offices and provides space for storage or work areas. A railroad spur goes directly to the property, which is part of the industrial Swan Ranch park south of the city. Swan Ranch Railroad handles getting the rail cars to and from the spur.
TransWood has six or seven employees based in Cheyenne and delivers to Cripple Creek 206 miles away about five days a week.
Cyanco has been giving safety briefings to fire and rescue and law enforcement departments along the entire transportation route. “We’ve met with close to 100 fire departments,” said Max Jones, who travels all over the world as Environmental, Health Safety and Security director for Cyanco.
Jones said Cyanco has a contracted expert, Custom Environmental Solutions, that would be called to any accident involving a leak along the route to Cripple Creek Mine. Fire departments are trained to handle hazardous materials, but the contractor would be responsible for the cleanup and remediation.
Cyanco is certified under the International Cyanide Code, and Cyanco follows the code in all of its operations. All tanker trucks are tracked via satellite. Omaha-based TransWood also is certified as a cyanide transportation company.
“We want the best drivers. We inject our own training, supervision and technology,” Kueper said.
Cyanco is based in the Houston area at Pearland, and the plant at Alvin, Texas makes the solid sodium cyanide. The company also has two plants at Winnemucca and terminals in Mexico and Cadillac, Quebec, as well as Cheyenne. Cyanco also has a small office in Reno.
Cyanco started producing solution sodium cyanide in 1990 at its first plant near Winnemucca to provide product to the growing gold-mining industry in northern Nevada. The second plant went into operation on the same site in 1997.
The Cadillac terminal is a dissolution facility to serve gold mines in Canada. Solid sodium cyanide arrives by rail cars and is dissolved to solution and delivered in tank trailers to Cyanco’s Canadian customers.
The company also has the Applied Technology Laboratory in Sparks, NV, that is used to assist customers in determining the best and most cost-effective way of detoxifying cyanide-containing tailings and solutions.
Article originally published on Elko Daily Free Press. Edited for length and content.