VANCOUVER, BC – BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. (TSX VENTURE:BQE) reports that it has signed a commercial agreement with Jiangxi Copper Corporation (“JCC”) for the development and operation of a water treatment facility located at JCC’s Dexing mine in Jiangxi Province, China. The commercial agreement extends to other mining properties owned and operated by JCC.
Project Description – Dexing Mine
The Dexing copper mine, located near Dexing City in Jiangxi Province, China, currently produces 120,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year from flotation concentrate and also operates a heap leach using SX-EW to produce copper cathode from low grade stockpiles. Daily production at the mine is 100,000 tonnes of ore and the current resource provides 50 years of operation at current production rates. Mine drainage from waste dumps and low grade stockpiles is acidic and contains copper. The initial project for the joint venture is to build a BioSulphide® facility near the existing milling operation at Dexing to treat acid water from several sources at the site. The minimum capacity of the plant will be 1.1 million pounds per year of copper and a maximum capacity of 4.5 million pounds per year if all of the acidic water is treated. The joint venture plans to increase the plant capacity in stages. Preliminary estimates completed by BioteQ, using local consumable and labour pricing provided by JCC, shows a total annual operating cost of US$ 1.44 million, for the maximum capacity plant, or US$ 0.32 per pound of copper in direct operating expenses. The high grade copper product would be refined at the Jiangxi Copper refinery at commercially competitive rates. Refining charges have not been included in the total annual operating cost estimate. The capital cost has not been finalized, pending detailed engineering, but is expected to be less than US$ 2 million based on the existing site infrastructure and costs of recent construction projects at the Dexing site.
In addition to highly favourable project economics and additional resource recovery to final metal product the plant will provide significant environmental benefit to the Dexing Mine including:
- Reduced sludge production from lime treatment
- Removal of copper from sludge products
- Reduced operation of the existing HDS lime plant
The plant design will be similar in process design and size to BioteQ’s Bisbee plant in Arizona, in joint venture with Phelps Dodge.
The agreement signed outlines a joint venture on an equal share basis, with the first development project at the Dexing Mine. Initially BioteQ will provide personnel for the plant process engineering and JCC will provide for all costs of engineering in China, including support engineering services and infrastructure. Following engineering the joint venture will fund the plant on an equal share basis and share in plant operating costs and revenues on the same basis. BioteQ will be the operator of the plant on behalf of the joint venture. A definitive joint venture agreement for the Dexing site is anticipated following completion of the detailed plant engineering.
Jiangxi Copper Corporation Profile
Jiangxi Copper Corporation is China’s largest copper producer and is an important producer of sulphur, gold and silver, and is one of the state supported key enterprises. JCC, based in Guixi City, has over 30,000 employees and is involved in all aspects of mining including exploration, mining, milling, smelting and refining. Production from all operations in 2004 was 420,000 tonnes of copper, 12 tonnes of gold and 330 tonnes of silver.
JCC operates the top five largest mines in China, of which the Dexing Mine is the largest open-pit copper mine in China. JCC also operates the largest copper smelter/refinery complex in China at Guixi, currently producing 420,000 tonnes of copper annually with expansion capacity in progress to reach 700,000 tonnes per year copper production. In addition to copper, gold and silver production JCC is an important producer of sulphuric acid, platinum, palladium, selenium, tellurium, rhenium, molybdenum, copper sulphate, arsenic oxide, copper ingot, copper foil, copper rod and copper wire.
JCC is listed on the Hong Kong, London and Shanghai stock exchanges.
BioteQ is establishing itself as a leader in the treatment of acid contaminated water through the use of its patented BioSulphide® Process. Focused on the mining industry, BioteQ has partnered with leading metal producers including Phelps Dodge, Breakwater and Falconbridge as well as utilities operator EPCOR Water Services, to finance, design, build and operate mine site water treatment plants which recover saleable metals in addition to meeting ever stricter environmental regulations.
On behalf of the Board of Directors