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James E. Slade

COLOMBIA - Energy & Mining

James E. Slade

CEO, AuVert Mining Group

Bio

James E. Slade has over 30 years of alluvial mining experience and US Patent applications on several recovery systems. He served as the managing partner of the largest alluvial gold mining operation in the US. He was president of Pioneer Mining Group in Liberty, Washington, from 2001-2009. AuVert has been working in Colombia since 2017 and now produces gold and platinum in Choco Department. Slade is an alumni of Mount Royal College, Calgary, and is a Member of Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.

"AuVert Colombia is operating in the Choco region of Colombia."
What is AuVert’s position in Colombia’s mining sector?

AuVert Colombia is operating in the Choco region of Colombia. We have a mine operating today in the town of Condoto, and a large title of 2,600ha further south in the town of Nóvita. The other mine is smaller and operational in a combination of gold and platinum. Our specialty is alluvial mining, and I have been in the industry for over 30 years myself. Back then, there was no modern technology applied to it at all. You could buy a brand-new sluice box or a recovery system the same as the Romans used; that is how they recovered gold. I started focusing on the plant, and over the years, I developed two patterns for the recovery system. We try to address all the issues with alluvial mining, the losses of metal, lack of security, and excess water usage. Our plant reduces water usage and recirculates it. We have recovered 95% compared to 10-40%, therefore catching more metal and removing any mercury that may be present.

Is this what distinguished AuVert’s practices in Colombia?

Yes, it is. My sons and I own the company, and we are a private business, not publicly listed. We saw in our travels and work in other countries the real impact alluvial mining had on the communities. The amount of mercury produced is terrible both for the environment and the individual. AuVert is working on a joint venture with a Canadian firm to increase mercury removal to get the other mentholated mercuries and issues that cause problems. The reason for this is because of the efficiency of our recovery. The community of Choco can develop a plantation or a farm. It is not profitable, though it is a long-term commitment. If we can recover 90% of the gold left behind, it can fund that land reclamation. In the circular economy, it is a driver to allow the community to take some capital from our work and put it into something sustainable for the future. It helps us clean up and move forward in working with these communities.

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