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.”