VANCOUVER, BC – BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. (TSX VENTURE:BQE) is pleased to report that it has completed a definitive agreement for the construction and operation of a copper recovery and water treatment plant with Columbia Metals Corporation Limited (TSX VENTURE:COL). The new plant will be constructed at Columbia’s Lluvia de Oro Gold Property located in the State of Sonora, Mexico, near the La Jojoba Project which was previously announced.
The water treatment technology for the Lluvia de Oro project is a new application of BioteQ’s sulphide technologies where BioteQ will provide a plant to Columbia for the regeneration of free and copper-complexed cyanide from barren solutions, which can then be recycled for gold extraction. In addition, the technology converts copper cyanide complexes to copper sulphide which is then recovered as an incremental revenue source.
The agreement provides for a commercial structure whereby BioteQ will build, own and operate the treatment plant in return for metals recovered and fees charged for cyanide regeneration.
Project Description – Lluvia de Oro Gold Property
Columbia’s Lluvia de Oro Gold Property is located in northern Mexico, approximately 2.5 hours drive from Tucson, Arizona. The property previously operated as a gold heap leach. The existing infrastructure consists of a heap leach pad, which currently contains unleached gold from previous operations, a well developed gold resource, a complete solution refining plant and ancillary storage ponds, power, maintenance facilities, warehousing, and offices at the site.
The gold deposit contains cyanide-soluble copper minerals, which consume cyanide during the gold extraction process, and can build up in the metallurgical process solutions which can hinder maximum gold extraction. BioteQ’s sulphide technology can be used for cyanide regeneration for recovery of free cyanide and copper-complexed cyanide from the barren solution, following gold recovery from solution. Regeneration of the cyanide also allows the recovery of copper as a sulphide product that can be shipped to a refinery for final processing to copper products.
Laboratory testing on bulk samples and drill core samples is in progress. Results to date indicate that approximately 45% of the copper in the gold ore is cyanide soluble which will produce between 500,000 and 1,000,000 pounds per year of copper in the barren solution. Copper recovery from the barren solution is expected to be greater than 99% in the BioteQ process. In addition, cyanide is regenerated at a rate of approximately 700,000 to 1,400,000 pounds per year of NaCN equivalent.
It is expected that gold processing by Columbia will begin at Lluvia de Oro by mid-2007 and it is anticipated that the BioteQ plant will be operational by the end of 2007. In addition, development work by Columbia and BioteQ on the La Jojoba project, as previously announced, which is located approximately 4 kilometers from the Lluvia de Oro project, is continuing and it is likely that the processing plant located at Lluvia de Oro can service both properties for copper recovery and cyanide regeneration.
The new technology offered by BioteQ is an important development for future gold mining operations. The technology is an improvement on the SART process developed by SGS Lakefield Research and Teck Corporation, and is used by permission on a license-free basis. Many of the known large gold deposits in the world are complexed with copper, and some occur as copper-gold porphyry deposits. The new technology offers a cost effective route to recover the gold using a conventional cyanide system and at the same time recover cyanide-soluble copper that ordinarily would pose a technical, environmental and economic impediment to the development of some of these large copper-gold systems.
The new agreement signed between BioteQ and Columbia provides for a build, own, operate structure whereby BioteQ will provide for all capital and operating costs of the copper recovery and water treatment plant. BioteQ will recover its capital costs plus 30% by sharing the net revenues from gold, silver, and copper production prorata with its capital expenditure. Thereafter BioteQ will receive 100% of the saleable copper recovered by the treatment plant up to 1 million pounds on a cumulative basis following the capital cost repayment, 90% up to 2 million pounds, 80% up to 3 million pounds, 70% up to 4 million pounds and 50% over 4 million pounds of copper recovered on a project cumulative basis following capital cost repayment. BioteQ will also charge a treatment fee of US$ 0.85 per pound of cyanide regenerated as NaCN equivalent.
The capital cost of the BioteQ plant is expected to be US$ 4.55 million. Capital recovery is expected to be less than 3 years. The operating cost of the BioteQ plant is estimated to be US$ 1.3 million per year.
Columbia Metals Corporation Limited
Columbia Metals Corporation Limited is based in Toronto and has several developing projects located in Mexico including: La Jojoba Gold Property, Lluvia de Oro Gold Mine, Sierra Pinta Gold Mine, El Carmen Gold Property and the PII Colorado poly-metallic prospect, in the State of Sonora.
BioteQ is establishing itself as a leader in the treatment of acid contaminated water through the use of its patented BioSulphide® Process and the ChemSulphide™ Process. Focused on the mining industry, BioteQ has partnered with leading metal producers including Phelps Dodge, Breakwater, INCO, Jiangxi Copper, Codelco and Xstrata 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