VANCOUVER, BC – BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. (TSX:BQE), a leader in the treatment of metal and sulphate contaminated water, reports that it has signed a construction and operating agreement with Molibdenos y Metales S.A. (Molymet) to build and operate a Sulf-IX™ water treatment plant to remove sulphate, replacing an existing reverse osmosis process at Molymet’s Nos refinery near Santiago, Chile. The plant, to be built in three stages to allow gradual replacement of existing technology, is expected to have a capital cost of $8 million, based on preliminary engineering by BioteQ. The capital costs will be shared by BioteQ and Molymet, based on construction design reports for each stage, with BioteQ responsible for the majority of the capital cost. BioteQ will be the operator of the plant, and will charge fees for the volume of water treated. The fee will be based on BioteQ’s share of the net savings achieved compared to the existing reverse osmosis plant.
Brad Marchant, BioteQ’s CEO, stated, “We are excited about the commercial application of BioteQ’s Sulf-IX™ process, and are delighted to be working with Molymet. We anticipate that the return on investment in the plant will be consistent with our three-year payback criteria, and will contribute to BioteQ’s future revenue growth. Based on the projects in our pipeline, we expect to develop a number of new Sulf-IX™ plants in the future.”
There are growing concerns about the impact of sulphate on water quality and long-term health effects. As a result, many jurisdictions, including Chile, are imposing tighter regulations for sulphate discharge.
BioteQ has developed the Sulf-IX™ ion exchange process to remove sulphate from complex salt solutions and produce clean water and saleable gypsum. The Sulf-IX™ process offers significant benefits over reverse osmosis and other technologies to remove sulphate, as it has lower capital and operating costs, achieves a higher recovery of treated water and does not produce any by-products that require disposal. The Sulf-IX™ process allows for sulphate removal to a level that meets local regulation for municipal and agricultural water use.
Molymet operates an integrated refining facility located at Nos, approximately 30 kilometers south of Santiago, Chile. The refinery treats molybdenum concentrates to make final upgraded molybdenum products as well as cathode copper by-product from SX-EW operations. In addition, Molymet currently operates a zero liquid discharge waste water treatment plant, through a reverse osmosis plant, integrated with evaporation and crystallization, to remove sulphate and other salts in the final waste water treatment stage prior to water recycle.
The construction and operating agreement follows from the preliminary agreement announced by BioteQ on April 17, 2007 for the development of two water treatment plants at Nos – one for copper recovery using BioteQ’s BioSulphide® process to recover copper from a complex acid wastewater stream, and another for sulphate removal, using BioteQ’s Sulf-IX™ ion exchange process. The first plant slated for construction is the Sulf-IX™ plant, which will replace the existing reverse osmosis plant and associated evaporation and crystallization circuits. The treated water product will meet discharge quality requirements of 250 mg/L sulphate content, to meet National Chilean Water Standard NCH1333 for water re-use.
Molymet will review BioteQ’s technology at the Nos refinery, for possible application at other Molymet sites.
Production Estimates and Commercial Terms
Engineering and process piloting completed by BioteQ at the Nos site provides the initial process design and preliminary production and cost estimates for the Sulf-IX™ plant. The estimates show a potential net savings of approximately $US 10 per cubic meter of water treated, when compared to the existing reverse osmosis plant and associated evaporation and crystallization plants, based on a plant feed flow of 80 cubic meters per hour. The total savings include direct operating cost savings as well as net savings from the production of a saleable ammonia product to off-set treatment costs. BioteQ and Molymet will share the savings.
The current water treatment plant flow requirement is 520,000 cubic meters per year and is expected to increase, as a result of production expansion at the refinery, to 700,000 cubic meters annually. The fees and water flow are subject to detailed engineering and might change to reflect operating modifications to the Nos refinery currently in progress. Molymet will guarantee to provide all available water from their lime plant for treatment in the BioteQ plant.
The sulphate removal plant can be integrated into the existing infrastructure at Molymet’s Nos refinery to replace the reverse osmosis system. The plant will be built and commissioned in three consecutive stages; each stage is expected to generate savings compared to the current treatment cost. Engineering for the design report for the first stage, to remove calcium, is in progress. Concurrent with engineering for the first stage plant, testing will continue in order to define critical design parameters for the second stage plant, to remove and recover ammonia from the waste water, and the third stage plant, to incorporate the final step of the Sulf-IX™ process to achieve the target concentration of sulphate of 250 mg/L in the treated water to meet NCH1333 guidelines.
Molymet Corporate Profile
Molibdenos y Metales S.A. (Molymet) is a Chilean corporation listed on the Santiago Stock exchange. The company processes molybdenum concentrates, with production facilities in Chile, Mexico, Belgium and Germany. Gross revenues for 2006 were over US$ 2 billion. Molybdenum concentrates from all over the world are treated at the plants for the production of technical molybdic oxide, ferromolybdenum, high purity molybdenum chemicals and molybdenum metal powders. These products are supplied to the steel, petrochemical catalysts and specialty metal manufacturing industries worldwide. At the Nos plant near Santiago, molybdenum concentrates are roasted to produce technical molybdenum oxide, molybdenum oxide briquettes, ferromolybdenum and high purity molybdenum chemicals. Yearly roasting capacity at this location is 94 million pounds of molybdenum contained in concentrates (approximately 88,000 MT of concentrates per year). The Nos complex is also equipped with a leaching plant and a concentrate cleaning plant, which allow copper removal from the molybdenum products. The copper is then recovered at a SX – EW plant as high quality copper cathodes.
BioteQ Corporate Profile
BioteQ builds, owns and operates water treatment plants for the world’s mining companies and utility operators, reducing environmental liabilities while generating revenue from waste. The company’s commercially proven technology treats acid mine drainage and other metal-laden waste water by sequentially removing metals and sulphate, producing saleable metal products and clean water that can be discharged safely to the environment. BioteQ is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, and trades on the TSX under the symbol BQE. For additional information, go to www.bqewater.com.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
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