A Global Perspective on Cyanide Use and Management

A Global Perspective on Cyanide Use and Management

Areas of Study: Environment and Community

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This course provides a non-technical introduction to the use and management of cyanide on a global basis—including gold production, cyanide chemistry, analysis, toxicity, treatment, risks, and management.


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Course Summary


This course provides a non-technical introduction to the use and management of cyanide on a global basis. The course is designed to provide the global picture of cyanide use and how it compares with other chemicals used around the world.

Cyanide is used in gold mining operations, however, there is much confusion regarding the real impact of cyanide use in mining. This course attempts to dispel the myths and mysteries surrounding cyanide and provide reliable facts and figures.

The course begins with an examination of the production, use, treatment, and transportation of cyanide worldwide, followed by discussions of its technical properties, risks, and management.

Subsequent courses in the Cyanide Management in Mining series detail specific technical aspects highlighted in this introductory course.

Course Content

This course consists of 9 viewing sessions of 30 minutes each with supporting figures, references, and multiple choice course reviews. Course duration is equivalent to approximately 4 hours of viewing content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe (at an overview level) the gold mining industry and how cyanide is critical to the industry.
  • Discuss (at a high-level) cyanide chemistry, analysis, toxicity, treatment, risks, and cyanide management in a mining context.

Recommended Background

  • High school science.

Dr. Terry Mudder

Dr. Mudder has over three decades of experience in the investigation of the analysis, chemistry, fate, monitoring, toxicity, and treatment of cyanide- and metals-containing wastes and is considered the leading international expert on environmental issues related to cyanide in mining.

In 2000, he was one of the original participants invited to Paris to formally discuss the creation of an international code for the management of cyanide in the gold mining industry sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Program. Later he served as the technical advisor to the International Cyanide Management Institute (ICMI).

Dr. Mudder has been instrumental in developing and applying innovative chemical, physical, and biological treatment processes, for which he has received patents as well as national and international awards, including the prestigious Philip Morgan Medal of the Water Environment Federation. In 2013, he was inducted into the International Mining Technology Hall of Fame for his biotechnology and environmental engineering contributions to the mining industry over the past three decades.

For twenty years, he co-owned TIMES Limited with his wife Dr. Karen Hagelstein, an environmental science and engineering consulting firm based out of Wyoming, USA. Since 2014 he has been consulting on a sole proprietor basis. He was formally a partner, office manager, and corporate consultant for SRK Consulting, an international mining consulting firm. Prior to consulting, he served as Chief Environmental Engineer and Chief Research Chemist at the Homestake Mine in South Dakota, USA, where he along with James Whitlock developed the first full-scale process for the microbial degradation of cyanide in mining wastewater.

Dr. Mudder has served as adjunct professor, thesis advisor, and quest lecturer at several colleges and universities in Australia, Canada, and the United States. He has received the prestigious Guy March Medal from his Alma Mata, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, as an outstanding alumnus. He has also served as technical advisor to aboriginal groups, various industries, international governments, and NGOs including the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

He has worked on scores of mining projects, authored nearly one hundred publications, and been involved with numerous short courses on acid mine drainage, rehabilitation, and cyanide. As a leading expert on cyanide in mining in the world, he has co-authored many manuals, pamphlets, and books, including the CDs entitled The Chemistry and Treatment of Cyanidation Wastewaters, The Cyanide Monograph, and The Cyanide Compendium.

Dr. Mudder holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering.