VANCOUVER, B.C.– BioteQ Environmental Technologies, Inc. (TSX: BQE), a leader in the treatment of industrial waste water, has provided an update about current operations and projects in development.
The company has an active pipeline of new plant projects that are expected to contribute to revenue growth of 25% in 2011, including a new plant in China that incorporates BioteQ’s new nickel and cobalt recovery process, and three new plants that are currently in engineering, and are expected to be in construction this year.
BioteQ’s active operations treated more than 7 billion liters of waste water in 2010, and removed approximately 2.3 million pounds of metals from the environment. The plants met strict health, safety, and environmental standards at all sites. The company expects existing plants to deliver similar performance in 2011. Continuing inactive operations at Lluvia de Oro and Mt Gordon are expected to impact 2010 financial results.
BioteQ’s new Sulf-IX™ technology for sulphate removal is generating growing market interest, with the recent completion of a new Sulf-IX™ plant at a customer site in Arizona. BioteQ is working with strategic alliance partners, Lanxess Sybron Chemicals Inc., EcoMetales and Newalta Corporation, to apply the technology in new markets and expand its presence in the mining sector.
BioteQ will release its 2010 year end results after the close of markets on Monday March 28, 2011. A conference call to review the results will be scheduled for Tuesday March 29. Details about the conference call will be issued a week prior to the call.
Active Pipeline of New Treatment Plants
Construction of the new ion exchange plant for recovery of cobalt and nickel at the Dexing site is nearing completion, with commissioning scheduled to commence later in March 2011. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2011, recovering a saleable cobalt and nickel product.
BioteQ is currently engineering a 6,500 m3/h zinc recovery plant with capacity to recover over 100 million pounds of zinc annually, on behalf of a mining customer. Negotiation of a fee-based commercial contract for technical services and commissioning is in progress, subject to key project milestones.
BioteQ has initiated a fee-based design-supply-commission pilot project with Newalta, applying BioteQ’s new Sulf-IX™ technology for sulphate removal. The plant is designed for mobile applications, and is expected to be operational in 2011.
BioteQ is working with EcoMetales Limited to recover molybdenum from waste smelter dust, which is a newly demonstrated technology for BioteQ and EcoMetales. Piloting and initial design of the plant is complete, and engineering is in progress. The companies have established a commercial framework to advance the project, subject to approvals at key milestones.
Together, these four projects are expected to drive revenue growth of at least 25% in 2011. Only one project – the Dexing ion exchange plant – requires capital investment from BioteQ, which is expected to total $1.5 million, which has been funded from existing cash reserves.
BioteQ has an active business development pipeline, with 10 projects in the advanced stages of evaluation. The pipeline is expected to drive new project activity into 2012 and beyond. The scope of projects has expanded to include larger plants, such as the zinc recovery project noted above, and more diverse market sectors including steel manufacturing, power generation, oil and gas, and landfill leachate treatment, to compliment our growing mining practice.
BioteQ is working with Newalta to review operations management systems at BioteQ’s operations. The companies are also working together to develop opportunities to combine Newalta’s onsite service offering with expanded application of BioteQ’s proven technology in the mining industry, and assessing new applications for BioteQ’s processes.
BioteQ’s seasonal northern operations at Raglan (Quebec) and Minto (Yukon) treated higher than expected volumes of waste water during the 2010 operating season. Both plants are in stand-by mode for the winter, with operations scheduled to commence again with the 2011 spring thaw.
The Dexing operation recovered close to 2 million pounds of copper in 2010, which was higher than the expected budget of 1.7 million pounds. Operating costs remained consistent throughout the year, according to budget.
The Bisbee operation recovered approximately 290,000 pounds of copper in 2010, which was lower than expected following re-start of operations in June 2010, due to a temporary suspension of activity during the fourth quarter. Bioreactor activity was impacted by impurities in one of the reagents added to the system. BioteQ is restoring the bioreactor capacity according to standard procedure, and has implemented additional standard operating practices to expand testing measures for reagents to prevent impurities from impacting operations in the future. The plant is currently returning to full production, expected during the second quarter.
NWM Mining has failed to make the scheduled lease payments for the Lluvia de Oro SART plant in Mexico. BioteQ has initiated legal proceedings to recover the unpaid lease amount.
The Mt. Gordon plant in Australia remains inactive. The recent rain events in Australia did not impact the site and site conditions remain unchanged. BioteQ has been unable to negotiate an acceptable contract with Birla Mt. Gordon for re-start of operations. BioteQ is assessing the current plant condition and exploring its legal rights. BioteQ is also reviewing the carrying value of the project assets in its 2010 financial results.
Sulf-IX™ Technology Generating Interest
BioteQ is working with Lanxess Sybron Chemicals, EcoMetales and Newalta to introduce the Sulf-IX™ technology into new markets.
Sulf-IX™ is a new ion exchange platform developed by BioteQ to remove calcium and magnesium sulphates from water. The process produces clean water with low residual sulphate concentrations, and a solid gypsum product which can be used as a soil amendment or as an input for fertilizers and building products. Sulf-IX™ recovers up to 99 percent of the feed water for re-use, and delivers lower life cycle costs for water treatment through lower capital and operating costs, lower energy consumption, and reduced carbon footprint when compared to alternative processes for sulphate treatment.
Sulphates are a form of salt that can form in a wide range of industrial activities. Although not toxic to humans except in very high concentrations, it can impart taste and odour at lower concentrations and can cause digestive disorders. In agricultural areas, sulphate is believed to negatively impact crop yields and domesticated mammal reproduction. Within industrial operations, sulphate causes scaling of equipment which can lead to premature equipment failure, lower process efficiency, and higher maintenance costs.
Sulphates are found in a wide range of industrial waters, including lime plant effluent, metallurgical process streams, refinery wastewaters, shale gas frac water, cooling tower blow-down and make-up water, flue gas desulphurization blow-down, ash pond water, steel manufacturing wastewater, and landfill leachates.
BioteQ Corporate Profile
BioteQ creates custom water treatment solutions to recover dissolved metals and remove sulphate from water impacted by mining, energy and industrial activities. The company’s clean technologies convert wastewater into a useful resource while delivering lower life cycle costs for water treatment. BioteQ has designed and built 14 plants at sites in Canada, the US, Mexico, Australia and China, with additional projects in development.
BioteQ’s sustainable water treatment solutions have been recognized with national and international awards for innovation and sustainability. BioteQ is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, and trades on the TSX under the symbol BQE. For additional information, please go to www.bqewater.com.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or the accuracy of this release.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Company, certain information contained herein constitutes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are frequently characterized by words such as “plan,” “expect,” “project,” “intend,” “believe,” “anticipate” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “might” or “will” occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the development, construction and operation of water treatment plants, variations in water quality, fluctuating metal prices, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future and other factors described in the section entitled “Risks” in the Company’s Annual Report for the Year Ended December 31, 2009. Circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions could change. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.