Tag Archives: David Kratochvil

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.

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.”

GoGold signs up BQE Water for SART plant at Parral tailings operation

BQE Water says it has been retained by GoGold Resources for the implementation of a sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) plant at the Parral operation in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The contract comes after on-site testing and preliminary assessment of SART integration into the metallurgical process at Parral that were completed earlier by BQE Water.

Under the contract, BQE Water’s scope of work will include plant engineering design, process automation, engineering support during procurement and construction, plant commissioning, and ongoing operations support after plant start-up. The plant construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Once the plant is commissioned, BQE Water will provide operations support services for a monthly fee for a period of three years, it said.

Owned and operated by GoGold Resources, the Parral project involves the reprocessing of old tailings to recover silver and gold by conventional cyanidation. In addition to the precious metals, the tailings also contain significant quantities of cyanide soluble copper and zinc. These base metals compete for cyanide, causing high cyanide consumption and increasing operating costs, according to BQE.

Anis Nehme, COO of GoGold Resources, said: “We have been working with BQE Water for the past few years to evaluate SART integration into the Parral project and we are relying on their expertise to help us maximise the positive contribution SART can bring to the project’s overall performance.”

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “This contract is further proof of our leadership in the safe, cost-effective and rapid deployment of SART to help precious metals producers improve the metallurgical and environmental performance of their projects.

“We stand behind our proven process designs perfected over multiple large projects completed in the past decade and in our operations support capabilities to ensure SART benefits are maximised while operational risks are minimised.”

The SART process recovers copper from cyanide leach solution while allowing free cyanide to be recycled back to the leaching of precious metals. This lowers the cost of gold extraction and reduces the environmental footprint of gold mining projects, BQE says.

“SART can be a game changer that favourably shifts project economics and enables projects to move forward,” BQE said, adding that fewer than 10 industrial scale SART plants have been built and operated globally.

BQE Water sorts SART plant for China’s Shandong Zhongkuang Group

BQE Water says it has been awarded its first contract to deliver a sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) plant in China.

The contract, at a gold metallurgical facility owned and operated by Shandong Zhongkuang Group Co in eastern China, was awarded following the positive outcome of the engineering feasibility study and on-site testing completed by BQE Water earlier in the year, the company said.

The contract consists of two project phases. In the first phase, BQE Water will provide all aspects of the plant design, engineering support during procurement and construction, and plant commissioning, it said. This initial phase is to be completed within the next 12 months.

In the second phase, BQE Water will provide ongoing operations support services for a period of five years and will be paid a quarterly service fee based on plant performance.

David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, said: “We are very excited about this project which enables BQE Water to demonstrate our leadership in SART technology in China and to execute the project using a business model that generates recurring revenues from technological know-how and services without the need for capital investment.

“I would also like to acknowledge the positive role that funding and advisory services from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) has played in allowing us to accelerate research in clean Canadian technologies such as SART in China.”

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, said: “The success of our operations at the Guoda gold smelter some 20 km away from the Zhongkuang site and our partnership with MWT Water Treatment Project Limited Co, were both instrumental in establishing the commercial framework for this project.

“SART implementation is the first step in the bigger picture of modernising cyanide management and waste treatment at the Zhongkuang metallurgical processing facility. The success of SART may open new opportunities to help us develop a long-term relationship with Zhongkuang.”

BQE Water calls itself 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 moves a step closer to first SART application in China

BQE Water has signed agreements with two of the top 10 gold producers in China to complete engineering feasibility studies to integrate the sulphidisation, acidification, recycling and thickening (SART) process and modernise cyanide destruction and residue management at existing operations in Shandong Province.

These studies are being undertaken in response to advancing environmental regulations and to enable the processing of feedstock with elevated levels of cyanide soluble copper, BQE said.

The feasibility studies will see BQE Water, which focuses on management of mine wastewater and metallurgical bleed streams, complete metallurgical and wastewater treatability test work in China and develop a sufficient level of engineering to confirm overall project economics, construction budget and schedule for possible implementation, the company said.

BQE Water calls itself 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.

David Kratochvil, President and CEO of BQE Water, said: “There is no question these new contracts were enabled by the success of the water treatment plant we designed and commissioned last year at the nearby Guoda gold smelter. That project has made all the major metallurgical operations in Shandong Province take notice of our capabilities.”

Shandong Province is home to some of China’s top gold producers. In the region alone where BQE Water’s new Guoda water treatment plant recently began operation, there are over 12 metallurgical plants that focus on gold extraction and refining, according to BQE.

Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water, added: “If these new projects move forward to implementation, we will be able to leverage our operations base at Guoda and our partnership with MWT, the Beijing based company with construction capabilities we formed a joint venture with for the Guoda project, to build what would be the first SART application in China and provide ongoing operations services to ensure performance excellence.”

Cyanide regulations around the world are advancing and target not only residual cyanide contained in wastewater and tailings produced by mining and metallurgical operations but also place strict limits for cyanidation and cyanide destruction by-products such as ammonia, cyanate, thiocyanate and nitrite, according to BQE.

“The goal is to ensure all discharges are non-toxic and do not cause impacts to the receiving environment. As such, proper cyanide management is key to the permitting of new projects and securing a social licence for gold producers.”