VANCOUVER, BC – BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. (TSX VENTURE:BQE) is pleased to report that it has signed the definitive joint venture agreement with Jiangxi Copper Corporation (“JCC”) for the operation of a water treatment facility located at JCC’s Dexing mine in Jiangxi Province, China. The joint venture agreement forms an equal share joint venture company between BioteQ and JCC, which will be called JCC-BioteQ Environmental Technologies Co. Ltd., which will build and operate water treatment plants using BioteQ’s technology. The agreement includes a license contract whereby BioteQ will provide its patented technology on a royalty-free basis to the joint venture company for use at the Dexing project (currently under construction for operation in 2007) as well as five additional sites owned and operated by JCC.
The joint venture operating agreement is a significant milestone for both companies to establish BioteQ’s waste water treatment technologies in China and provide a commercial demonstration of sustainable water treatment operation for the Chinese mining industry. JCC is the first mining company in China to utilize the BioteQ technology to enhance the environmental performance of its mining operations.
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 company is to build a BioteQ facility at the Dexing minesite, incorporating BioteQ’s ChemSulphide™ Process for the selective recovery of copper from 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. The capital cost has been estimated by ENFI, an independent engineering design institute based in Beijing, at RMB 28 million, or approximately US$3.5 million. Estimates completed by BioteQ and ENFI, show a total annual operating cost of US$2.4 million, for the maximum capacity plant, or US$0.53 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 as these vary with the prevailing market terms. Engineering for construction is in progress and the plant is expected to be operational in 2007.
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
BioteQ will provide the detailed process engineering for the plant while JCC will provide procurement and construction management services for the plant at Dexing. ENFI will provide detailed construction engineering on a fee basis to the joint venture. The joint venture partners will fund the plant on an equal share basis and share in plant operating costs and revenues on the same basis. BioteQ will provide the Operating & Technical Manager for the joint venture and day-to-day plant operation supervision while JCC will provide the General Manager and administrative support to the joint venture. JCC will arrange for local permit requirements.
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 Corporate Profile
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