Tag Archives: BQE Water

BQE Water to help Yukon Government with water management at the Minto mine

BQE Water, a leader in the treatment and management of mine impacted waters, has entered into a contract with the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources of the Yukon Government to provide expertise and support with water management at Minto mine, in central Yukon and on settlement land of the Selkirk First Nation.

Under the contract, BQE Water will provide two types of services. First is operations services, which focuses on the seasonal operation of the existing water treatment plant at Minto mine and managing the environmental discharge in accordance with the current Water Use Licence. Second is technical advisory and engineering services, which entails assisting the government with assessing water management changes, including to the existing treatment system, to support site closure and remediation for the long-term.

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “We understand how important safe, transparent and cost-effective clean water production at Minto mine is for the Yukon and for all project stakeholders. Since we re-engaged with the project, Minto Metals, the Selkirk First Nation and the Yukon Government have had our commitment to deliver first rate service no matter the site circumstances. We are also appreciative of the opportunity to work directly with the Yukon Government to continue to deliver on this commitment.”

BQE Water designed the water treatment plant at Minto mine and operated it until 2013 when treated water discharge from the site ceased and mine contact water was directed into an exhausted open pit. In August 2022, BQE Water became involved in the operation of the same water treatment plant once again. Following the stoppage of mine production in May 2023, BQE Water worked collaboratively with the Yukon Government, Selkirk First Nation and JDS Mining in support of environmental protection and to ensure treated water is discharged into the environment in accordance with the Water Use License. The contract with Yukon Government represents a continuation of this effort.

The Minto mine has been in operation since 2007 with underground mining commencing in 2014. The current mine operations are based on underground mining, a process plant to produce high-grade copper, gold and silver concentrate and all supporting infrastructure associated with a remote location in Yukon.

BQE Water wins SART plant order from Shandong Gold Mining

BQE Water Inc, a leader in the treatment and management of mine impacted waters, has been awarded a contract for the design, construction and operation of a SART (sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening) plant to improve gold leaching efficiency and overall cyanide management at a gold metallurgical facility in Shandong Province, China, owned by Shandong Gold Mining.

With a contract structure similar to two previous SART plants in the province signed in 2019 that are now in operation with support services from BQE Water, this contract has two project phases. The first involves engineering design, procurement, construction, plant commissioning and start-up. The second is for on-site operations support services for an initial period of five years in exchange for a quarterly service fee based on plant performance.

“The Shandong Gold contract solidifies our leadership position with the SART process technology not only in China but globally,” David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said. “Cyanide management needs are on the rise from the mining of more deposits containing mineralisation that interferes with gold leaching and the increased industry focus for projects to be environmentally responsible and socially acceptable. Through the capabilities of our team, we are committed to supporting the gold mining and smelting sector in meeting their project requirements.”

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, adds: “The fact that Shandong Gold sole-sourced the project from BQE Water speaks volumes about our SART expertise. And with the backing of three SART plants for the three largest gold producers in the region, we look forward to further growing our cyanide management market in China and Asia in general.”

BQE Water says it is a global leader in the SART process which enables cyanide consumed by base metals to be recovered and recycled, lowering the cost of gold extraction and reducing the environmental footprint of gold mining projects. The company also provides solutions to manage the by-products of cyanidation and cyanide destruction such as ammonia, nitrite and thiocyanate removal.

BQE Water’s Selen-IX to tackle selenium removal task at US base metal mine

BQE Water has signed an Operating Services Agreement to provide operations services for a water treatment plant using its Selen-IX™ process technology for selenium removal at a base metal project in south-western USA.

The plant will treat impacted waters to remove selenium and dissolved metals in compliance with permitted water quality requirements, BQE said.

Under the agreement, BQE Water will provide plant commissioning and operations services for an initial period of three years upon completion of the plant performance test. Compensation for plant operations services will consist of a base monthly fee per volume of water treated that meets discharge specifications and a supplemental fee for additional water treated for discharge.

“As we move towards decarbonisation, projects such as this will play an important role in producing the metals essential for a low carbon future,” David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said. “We are proud to be providing vital and comprehensive water management services for modern mining. From our Selen-IX process that satisfies key project criteria for low single digit parts per billion of selenium while being able to ramp up and down in response to treatment needs, to our operational expertise that guarantees plant performance as designed, we are excited to be contributing to the shift to clean energy.”

Operating 24/7 year-round, the plant has the capacity to treat up to 4,500 gallons (20,457 litres) of water per minute. The plant will first remove dissolved metals followed by selenium removal to below 2 parts per billion to produce clean water for discharge to the environment. Selen-IX, as a non-biological technology, offers superior water quality, operational flexibility and lower operating costs than competing biological selenium treatment systems.

Prior to this agreement, BQE conducted laboratory testing in 2019 to successfully demonstrate the capability of Selen-IX. This resulted in a contract partnering with Black & Veatch in early 2020 to design the Selen-IX water treatment plant, which is now in the construction phase with commissioning expected to commence in the first half of 2023.

Selen-IX is a patented process technology that, according to BQE, is currently the only commercially available non-biological treatment system that has been applied on a large scale to remove the selenate form of selenium from wastewater. Selen-IX removes selenium to below detection limits, has zero risk of acute and chronic effluent toxicity and the by-product of treatment is a stable solid residue with offtake potential, according to the company.

BQE Water to provide plant operations services for Minto Mine water treatment plant

BQE Water has entered into an Operating Services Agreement with Minto Metals Corp to provide plant operations services for an existing water treatment plant at Minto Mine, some 240 km northwest of Whitehorse, Yukon, through to 2024.

Under the agreement, BQE Water will be responsible for clean water production at the Canadian mine where the final effluent must meet stringent requirements not only for metals but ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to protect the aquatic life in the receiving environment. Included in the operations services provided by BQE Water will be on-site technical supervision, coordination with Minto’s environmental and metallurgical team to maximise the volume of water discharged into the environment, operator training, and on-site and off-site engineering support.

BQE Water’s compensation will be composed of a base monthly fee and a supplemental fee for the volume of water treated that meets discharge specifications. It is estimated the plant will treat and discharge 400,000 cu.m of mine water for the remainder of the year and approximately 750,000-1,000,000 cu.m of mine water in each subsequent year of the current contract.

“We are highly appreciative of the responsiveness and technical proficiency provided by BQE Water to address the concerns we had with our water treatment plant,” Loralee Johnstone, the VP of Environment and Social Governance for the mine, said. “The transition to their operations has been systematic and transparent, with the resulting operational work surpassing our expectations.”

David Kratochvil, BQE Water’s President & CEO added: “We value the opportunity to help Minto achieve its environmental and social governance goals. We also look forward to collaborating with the Selkirk First Nation to achieve sustainable and transparent water management at the mine.”

As part of its role at Minto, BQE Water has engaged in discussions with the mine and the Selkirk First Nation about creating an active role for the local community to participate in clean water production at the site to ensure the continued protection of land and water for countless generations in the future.

The Minto mine has been in operation since 2007 with underground mining commencing in 2014. The current mine operations are based on underground mining, a process plant to produce high-grade copper, gold and silver concentrate and all supporting infrastructure associated with a remote location in Yukon.

BQE Water and Codelco partner on Sulf-IX, BioSulphide testing in Chile

BQE Water Inc says it has entered into a contract with Codelco to demonstrate its Sulf-IX™ technology for sulphate removal and BioSulphide® process for copper recovery at multiple sites in Chile.

Under the contract, BQE Water will design, supply and operate pilot plants for sulphate removal and copper recovery at Codelco’s existing operations in Chile over the next 18 months.

Karin Schulz, Project Manager of the Innovation team at Codelco, said: “An important factor in the open innovation model that Codelco is promoting consists of searching and testing technologies from the ecosystem that allows us to face and solve our challenges together with those actors who have the experience, knowledge and necessary technologies. This is how the tests of the proposed BQE Water technologies are part of a pilot-level technological evaluation in-situ that during 2022 we will carry out in our divisions. In the case of obtaining positive results, they will make available new technologies for water treatment for the future of our operations.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “We are honoured to be selected by Codelco, one of the world’s top metal producers, to help solve difficult water treatment issues and are excited for the opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of our Sulf-IX and BioSulphide technologies at their sites in Chile.”

Sulphates are a form of salt produced from a wide range of industrial activities, including mining. At high concentrations, sulphates can impart taste and odour in drinking water and cause digestive disorders in humans. It is also harmful to aquatic life and negatively impacts crop yields and domesticated mammal reproduction. This has led to increased environmental regulation for dissolved sulphates globally.

Developed by BQE Water in the late 2000s and subsequently successfully demonstrated on an industrial scale at an active mine in the US in the mid 2010s, the Sulf-IX process removes sulphate from mine water while generating a high purity solid gypsum by-product for potential re-use, BQE Water said. The process achieves water recoveries greater than 98% and does not generate any liquid brine waste.

“At copper mines with long operating histories, it is not uncommon to see economically significant quantities of copper present in mine wastewater,” the company said. “BQE Water’s BioSulphide and ChemSulphide® processes enable selective and cost-effective recovery of copper in the form of high-grade copper sulphide concentrates that are blended sinto metal concentrates produced by the mines.”

Since commercialising these technologies in the mid 2000s, BQE Water says it has successfully implemented half a dozen large-scale metal recovery plants treating mine wastewater at sites around the world.

BQE Water signs agreement with Randy Agius to grow cyanide management services

BQE Water has signed agreements with Randy Agius to transfer all intellectual property residing in his business to BQE Water, and for the two parties to jointly grow holistic cyanide management services globally.

Under the agreement, Randy will work exclusively with BQE Water’s technical and business development teams, train and help mentor staff, and ensure that his legacy in providing technical excellence in cyanide destruction continues, BQE Water says.

Agius has over 40 years of experience in the mining industry and was one of the pioneers in the development and commercialisation of the SO2/Air cyanide destruction technology while working for INCO (now part of Vale) between 1972 and 2003, BQE says.

“Randy has become recognised as the global knowledge leader and ‘go-to specialist’ for cyanide destruction and has been responsible for the testing, design, commissioning and operation of over 65 large scale cyanide destruction systems.”

The SO2/Air cyanide destruction process was developed by INCO during Agius’ tenure and currently represents the most common method for removing residual cyanide from gold process tailings worldwide, according to BQE. Since the technology was first applied in the mid 1980s, the environmental standards applied to discharges from cyanide destruction plants have been tightened significantly. At the same time, commercially exploited gold deposits have become more complex, often challenged by the presence of cyanide soluble base metals and/or iron sulphide minerals. This not only increased the demand placed on cyanide destruction plants, but also created the need for cyanide recovery and recycle.

“While Randy developed valuable know-how in addressing the new cyanide destruction requirements in a cost-effective manner, BQE Water became the industry leader in cyanide recovery through its expertise in SART (sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening) technology,” BQE says. “Together, our combined expertise will enable BQE Water to offer complete cyanide management services.”

Agius says: “I have followed BQE Water for several years now and selected them as the best successor for my work because of their reputation and unique expertise in SART and water treatment. They have a young and knowledgeable group that can carry on my legacy for years to come and have had great success in China, which represents an untapped market opportunity for cyanide destruction.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “I am very excited about bringing Randy into the BQE Water fold. Randy’s know-how is highly complementary to our core business, providing strong upside to BQE Water’s long-term growth potential through our ability to offer complete and holistic management of cyanide and water which has never been more important to gold miners than it is today. The acquisition of intellectual property in cyanide destruction provides a good example of how the company can invest its free cash flow to drive future growth without impacting present cash reserves.”

BQE Water to remove selenium and sulphate from mine water at US mine

BQE Water says it has entered into an Operating Services Agreement with a US-based mining project to provide water treatment services for the simultaneous removal of selenium and sulphate in compliance with environmental regulations.

Under the agreement, BQE Water will provide plant commissioning and operations services for an initial period of four years following completion of the plant performance test. Compensation for operations services consists of a base monthly fee and a supplemental fee for the volume of water treated that meets discharge specifications.

The agreement comes after BQE Water completed process engineering design work in 2020 and 2021 to upgrade the existing water treatment plant at the project site to enable the removal of both selenium and sulphate to below regulated limits, which are among the most stringent globally, it said.

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “This project is truly exciting for us. First off, the requirement for the simultaneous removal of selenium and sulphate allows us to push our expertise and leadership in key areas of modern mine water treatment. Secondly, it is gratifying to work with a major metal producer who understands the role of water in today’s resource projects and the value of having specialists operate plants which enables the project owner to focus on their core areas of expertise.”

Detailed engineering for the plant retrofit is nearing completion with the project currently in the construction phase. The plant is expected to complete commissioning in the first half of 2022.

BQE Water achieves several firsts with Zhongkuang SART plant operation

BQE Water says it has advanced the SART plant it designed for a gold metallurgical facility owned by Shandong Zhongkuang Group Co Ltd, in China, to full production.

Located in the Shandong Province in eastern China, the plant is now being operated under the ongoing technical supervision of BQE Water.

Implementing SART (sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening) at the site improves both the environmental performance and project economics of the metallurgical facility, BQE said. Specifically, the SART plant eliminates the need for cyanide destruction, recovers copper and zinc as separate sulphide concentrates, and recycles free cyanide recovered by the plant to gold leaching.

BQE was awarded the SART plant contract back in 2019 following the positive outcome of an engineering feasibility study and on-site testing completed by BQE Water earlier in the year.

The Zhongkuang SART plant also represents many firsts, according to BQE:

  • It is the first application of SART globally where the cyanide competing base metals, copper and zinc, are recovered simultaneously from the leach solution as two separate high-grade concentrates that can be sold to generate incremental revenues;
  • It is the first commercial scale application of SART in China;
  • It is the first SART plant where lime is used to control gas emissions to reduce operating costs and control the build-up of salts in the process water; and
  • It is the first SART plant to be integrated into a complex metallurgical flowsheet that combines mineral flotation with cyanidation and SART in a Zero Liquid Discharge metallurgical facility with complete water recycle.

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, said: “We are very proud of our China-based operations team for this significant achievement and that they were able to do so considering the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Zhongkuang SART plant is our flagship project for the China gold sector and other gold producers in the country are taking notice.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “The many firsts associated with the Zhongkuang SART plant demonstrates our leadership in SART technology. And through the unique combination of engineering know-how and operations expertise, the project also shows our ability to reduce risks and achieve predictable outcomes for our clients.”

BQE Water hits Selen-IX milestone at Kemess gold project

BQE Water says it has successfully completed the commissioning and performance test of the first industrial scale plant using its patented Selen-IX™ process for selenium management.

The installation at the Kemess property in northern British Columbia, Canada, owned by Centerra Gold has, since late August 2020, operated continuously. It has treated 65 litres/s (5,600 cu.m/d) of mine-influenced water to produce effluent containing selenium concentrations of less than two parts per billion, BQE Water said.

Fully staffed and operated by BQE Water with support from Centerra Gold mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, the plant is expected to operate until the end of October and then shut down for the winter season. Plant operations are expected to restart in the Spring of 2021, BQE Water says.

Selen-IX was developed by BQE Water specifically to address the difficult to remove ‘selenate’ form of selenium from mine-influenced waters employing a physico-chemical, instead of biological, method of treatment.

As the Kemess mine plant enters the operations phase, Selen-IX becomes the first commercially available non-biological treatment process to be applied on a large industrial scale capable of removing selenate to levels below two parts per billion, BQE Water said. This is achieved without the risk of inadvertent organo-selenium production that is associated with biological systems. Additionally, the solid residue produced by Selen-IX is stable and is suitable for blending with tailings.

“This plant provides confirmation that a proven non-biological treatment approach for selenate is now available, something that has been lacking since selenium regulations were first introduced,” the company said.

Ron Hampton, Project Director for the Kemess project at Centerra Gold, said: “We are pleased that the water treatment plant met the conditions of the performance test, which is a major milestone for our project. The ability to effectively control selenium is key to the future operation of the Kemess underground project.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added: “Centerra Gold’s exemplary commitment to a clean environment enabled us to first pilot and then implement Selen-IX on the basis of delivering a selenium management solution with superior outcomes compared to treatment systems used at other mines. I am extremely proud that we delivered on that promise.”

Centerra Gold is looking to re-establish the former operating Kemess site into an underground mine and processing facility, able to operate over a 12-year mine life, according to a 2016 feasibility study.

Kinross Gold weighs SART plant and rope conveyors for Lobo-Marte development

Kinross Gold has announced the results of a prefeasibility study for its Lobo-Marte project in Chile, which includes consideration of sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) technology, as well as the use of rope conveyors.

The open-pit, heap leach operation would produce around 4.5 Moz of gold at average all-in sustaining cost of sales of $745/oz, according to the study. It would operate for 15 years, which includes 12 years of mining followed by three years of residual processing.

The initial estimated capital cost for the project is $765 million, plus around $230 million in contingency, Kinross said. The estimated capital costs includes mine equipment, crushing and storage facilities, conveyors, and site utilities and infrastructure.

The most interesting processing aspect is the use of a SART plant in the mine’s design. Kinross has previously used SART technology successfully in the region at its former-operating Maricunga mine, which BioteQ Environmental Technologies (now named BQE Water) installed.

The company also plans to use rope conveyors, such as those provided by Doppelmayr at the likes of Torex Gold’s ELG mine in Mexico.

Subject to a positive development decision, the study estimates Lobo-Marte project construction beginning in 2025, with first production expected in 2027. Production would commence after the conclusion of mining at the company’s La Coipa project (pictured), which is located some 50 km northwest of Lobo-Marte, and where the company is continuing to explore opportunities to extend mine life.

Back in February, Kinross announced it is proceeding with the La Coipa Restart project to mine the Phase 7 deposit. The La Coipa restart is expected to generate strong returns and produce a total of around 690,000 oz of gold from 2022 to 2024. The project plan includes refurbishing the existing process plant, camp and other infrastructure, as well as the mine fleet from the Maricunga operation that has recently been placed on care and maintenance.

The company plans to commence a feasibility study on Lobo-Marte later this year, with scheduled completion in the December quarter of 2021. The feasibility study is expected to provide the detailed engineering and project description required for permitting and submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment, Kinross said.

“The Lobo-Marte project provides Kinross with an excellent, organic development option that has attractive all-in sustaining costs and offers substantial upside leverage to the gold price, without increasing project cost requirements and risk,” Paul Rollinson, Kinross President and CEO, said. “The project represents a potential synergistic, long-term mine life extension in a favourable mining jurisdiction and delivers a significant 6.4 Moz addition to our current gold reserve estimates, increasing the company’s overall reserve mine life.

“As we move forward with the feasibility study for this longer-term project, we will continue to prioritise balance sheet strength and disciplined capital allocation.”