Tag Archives: BQE Water

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.”

BQE Water to manage and treat water at El Mirador copper-gold mine

BQE Water has signed two agreements with EcuaCorriente SA (ECSA), an Ecuador subsidiary of a Chinese consortium, to prepare an adaptive mine water management plan and to improve the design of an existing water treatment plant for the El Mirador mine the consortium owns and operates in south-eastern Ecuador.

The first contract is for an assessment of the water treatment plant and a water management plan that is adaptive over the life of the mine based on water flow and quality that will be monitored as part of the plan.

Added to this is a second contract to provide technical support for implementing immediate improvements in the engineering design and operation of the existing water treatment facility to increase its robustness and reduce both project risks and long-term operating costs, BQE said.

Qiaofeng Xu, the Project Director for ECSA, said: “We selected BQE Water for their unique technical expertise, their successful track record in the design and operation of large water treatment plants for major Chinese mining producers, and for their ability to support project execution utilising personnel from their South American, China and Canadian offices.”

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, said: “Our ability to do business with large Chinese metal producers and the success of our water treatment operations in China were instrumental in securing these new contracts. The El Mirador project is significant for BQE Water as it showcases our unique strength to be a trusted water services provider for mining projects with Chinese interests at a time when Chinese investment in global mining projects can be expected to grow.”

Oscar Lopez, General Manager for Latin America at BQE Water, said the El Mirador project represents the first large mining project where the company will be the technical lead for the overall site water management plan rather than focus only on water treatment.

“And, with the long time horizon for water treatment at El Mirador, the current contracts may provide an opportunity for further cooperation between our two companies to support EcuaCorriente to reduce life cycle costs and conduct mining operations in an environmentally friendly manner at El Mirador,” Lopez said.

The El Mirador mine, owned by a consortium consisting of China Railway Construction Corporation and Tonglin Nonferrous Metals Group, is a large copper-gold porphyry project that was brought into production in 2019. It is expected to produce an average over 200 MIb (90,718 t) of copper and 60,000 oz of gold annually for the next 30 years.

The project site is located in a net positive water balance environment and will require ECSA to treat and discharge mine water into the environment throughout the project life, BQE said. “As production ramps-up and the mine footprint increases, both the volume of water requiring treatment and the water composition will change.”

SART plant up and running at GoGold’s Parral tailings facility

GoGold Resources says the SART plant has been successfully installed and commissioned at its Parral tailings facility in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The SART (sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening) plant is providing important economic and technical benefits to the Parral facility, according to the TSX-listed company. This includes the recovery of a high-grade saleable copper sulphide product, the re-generation of cyanide, which is the largest single operating cost at Parral, and an improvement in the leaching efficiency of the heap.

The company announced back in June 2019 that it had retained BQE Water to design, construct and commission the plant at Parral. This contract followed on-site testing and preliminary assessment of SART integration into the metallurgical process at Parral that BQE completed earlier in the year.

Brad Langille, President and CEO of GoGold, said: “Our team at Parral has successfully adapted agglomerated heap leaching to old mined waste at Parral, and the SART is a further optimisation of this innovation.

“The operation produces low cost gold and silver ounces while providing environmental remediation for the town of Parral. We see this expertise which we’ve developed over the last six years of operation as a real asset to the company that may be applicable to the millions of tonnes of mined waste in Mexico and beyond.”

The commissioning phase began in late January, and steady production was reached in early March, GoGold said. The plant is currently operating as intended, producing copper sulphide precipitate and re-generating cyanide. Its introduction has reduced the need for purchased cyanide by more than 20%, or around $200,000 ($140,378) in the month of March, according to the company, with the revenue attributed to the copper sulphide precipitate offsetting the costs of operation of the SART plant.

BQE Water to install Selen-IX water treatment plant at US mine

BQE Water says it has entered into an engineering services agreement with Black & Veatch, an international engineering firm, for the design of a Selen-IX™ water treatment plant destined for a mine in the US.

The plant, at a scale larger than the currently constructed 6,400 m3/d Selen-IX treatment plant at Centerra Gold’s Kemess mine site in British Columbia, Canada, will remove selenium below three parts per billion limit at the end-of-pipe, the company said.

The plant will be designed to treat several thousand litres per minute of water on average and to adjust quickly to adapt to the changes in feed flow, according to BQE.

Jim Spenceley, VP Mining for Black & Veatch, said: “We recognise the value of BQE Water’s expertise in water treatment and the uniqueness of Selen-IX, which moves selenium control in the mining industry to a new level and enables important resource projects to be developed.

“The technological leadership of BQE Water, combined with Black & Veatch’s successful track record in delivering mission critical capital projects, matches perfectly the project requirements and we are excited to initiate the work jointly with BQE Water.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said the ability of Selen-IX to remove selenium to levels below three parts per billion, coupled with the ability to quickly adapt to treatment requirements by fast turn-up and turn-down in terms of throughput, was key to signing this agreement.

“It also provides a platform for BQE Water and Black & Veatch to demonstrate to the mining industry our joint capabilities of delivering innovative water treatment solutions safely and cost effectively,” he added.

BQE Water successfully completed lab testing in 2019 that demonstrated the capability of Selen-IX to achieve the required water quality. The design of the water treatment plant is expected to be completed in the September quarter.

Selen-IX is a water treatment process technology that combines ion exchange and electro-reduction to remove selenium from large volumes of wastewater. As a purely physico-chemical process, it is insensitive to water temperature and is highly adaptable to variability in water flows and selenium levels, according to BQE Water. “The process fixes selenium into stable refractory non-hazardous solids suitable for co-disposal with tailings and potential offtake by steel producers,” the company said.

BQE Water receives second SART plant gig in China

BQE Water has been awarded its second SART plant contract in China, with Zhaojin Mining Industry Co signing up the mine wastewater and metallurgical bleed streams specialist to construct and operate the facility at a gold metallurgical operation, in Shandong Province.

The contract structure for Zhaojin, a state-owned company that is one of the largest gold smelters in China, is similar to the sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) contract signed earlier this year with Shandong Zhongkuang Group Co, BQE said.

It consists of two project phases, with the first phase including initial engineering design, procurement, construction and plant commissioning. This will be followed by a second phase for onsite operations support services for an initial period of five years with BQE Water being paid a quarterly service fee based on plant performance.

BQE’s SART process 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 says.

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “The two back-to-back multimillion dollar SART contracts with recurring revenues from ongoing plant operations will allow us to expand our China office and develop a comprehensive platform for delivering our expertise in one of the most active metals extraction, smelting and refining markets globally.

“We are also appreciative of research and development funding and advisory services from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP).”

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, added: “Our partnership with MWT Water Treatment Project Limited Co has allowed us to establish a commercial framework built on our combined core-competencies. Together these capabilities are highly suitable to the mining market conditions and requirements in China and will support BQE Water in the acquisition of additional contracts from the deployment of our know-how.”