BioteQ reports progress on current operations, developing projects
BioteQ Environmental Technologies, in Vancouver, recently reported a number of significant achievements at its various operations and development projects in Canada.
At the Raglan plant in northern Quebec, for example, the BioteQ treatment facility surpassed its design flow capacity and reached record production levels. The plant, which operates at Falconbridge's Raglan mine, began discharging treated water in early May, about a month earlier than in 2005.
Plant modifications made last year have increased treatment capacity to more than 200 cubic metres (m3) per hour, and monthly production since startup has been at record levels: the plant is now consistently treating over 140,000 m3 of water per month. Consequently, the original annual treatment target of 530,000 m3 has been increased to 700,000 m3.
BioteQ and Falconbridge have agreed to an increase in the treatment fee from $1.06 to $1.12 per m3 of water treated; the monthly capital fee is currently under review. The costs are offset by the value of nickel recovered from the wastewater stream.
The Caribou mine in New Brunswick is the site of BioteQ's first commercial facility in North America. The mine, formerly owned by Breakwater Resources and its subsidiary CanZinco, was sold, along with the Restigouche mine, to Blue Note Metals, effective August 1, 2006. The transaction terminated BioteQ's contract with CanZinco, and the company signed a new operating contract with Blue Note, which plans to return both sites to operation.
The new contract with Blue Note provides for a similar scope of services at the two sites and is for an initial term of one year. Blue Note plans to increase the water treatment capacity to accelerate mine dewatering in order to begin mine operations in 2007. Currently the mine water treatment plants are operating in steady state to ensure that water levels remain in compliance.
BioteQ also has a number of projects in development stages. At the Britannia mine site in British Columbia, the company has completed pilot testing of a novel process to make construction materials from lime plant waste sludge products.
Groundwater flowing through the mine's abandoned tunnels combines with oxygen and the high sulfide content of the waste rock to generate a metal-laden acidic effluent that discharges into Howe Sound. The Britannia site currently has a high-density sludge (HDS) lime plant, built by Epcor in 2005 and operated by Epcor.
The objective of the proposed enhancement project at Britannia is to utilize BioteQ's existing metal recovery technology to recover heavy metals contained in the acidic drainage, prior to the lime plant, then modify the lime plant to make a sludge product that can be used to form various saleable construction materials.
Based on the pilot results, BioteQ is currently conducting a study to evaluate the commercial feasibility of the new sludge process.
In Ontario, BioteQ is working on a water treatment facility for Inco. The two companies signed an agreement last November for the development of a water treatment plant at Inco's north mine, part of its Copper Cliff mining complex near Sudbury. BioteQ has since completed and delivered to Inco a final design report, which provides the basis for plant construction.
The most recent production estimate is consistent with previous information which projected the recovery of approximately 750,000 pounds of nickel per year. The estimated operating cost has been reduced to $1.22 million (Cdn) per year, excluding refining charges for the nickel product, which are negotiable. The final capital cost estimate will be calculated once firm quotations have been received from local contractors for civil construction and mechanical installation of the process plant equipment.
To maintain the project schedule for 2007 operation some critical plant equipment and civil work must be initiated during the third quarter this year and the building erected during the fourth quarter. The project schedule is subject to receiving necessary plant permits, the negotiation of the necessary agreements with Inco and internal Inco approvals.
More information is available from BioteQ president and CEO Brad Marchant, 604/685-1243, FAX 604/685-7778, Web site www.bioteq.ca.