VANCOUVER, BC – BQE Water Inc. (TSX-V: BQE), a leader in mine water management, has successfully completed the commissioning and Performance Test of the first industrial scale plant utilizing its patented Selen-IX™ process for selenium management at the Kemess property in Northern British Columbia, Canada, owned by Centerra Gold. Since late August 2020, the Selen-IX™ plant has operated continuously treating 65 L/s (5,600 m3/day) of mine influenced water to produce effluent containing selenium concentrations of less than 2 parts per billion.
Fully staffed and operated by BQE Water with support from Centerra Gold mechanical and electrical maintenance personnel, the plant is expected to operate until the end of October and then shut down for the winter season. Plant operations are expected to restart in Spring 2021.
“We are pleased that the water treatment plant met the conditions of the Performance Test which is a major milestone for our project. The ability to effectively control selenium is key to the future operation of the Kemess underground project,” stated Ron Hampton, Project Director for the Kemess project at Centerra Gold.
David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added, “Centerra Gold’s exemplary commitment to a clean environment enabled us to first pilot and then implement Selen-IX™ on the basis of delivering a selenium management solution with superior outcomes compared to treatment systems used at other mines. I am extremely proud that we delivered on that promise.”
Selenium is a naturally occurring element essential to all life forms in trace amounts. It is transferred into water through the weathering of plant life, soils and bedrocks. Selenium is also released into water as a by-product of mining activities. When selenium is present in water at higher concentrations, it may be harmful to fish and other aquatic life. As a result, selenium management has been identified as an important environmental issue by regulators and industry in North America.
Significance of the Kemess Mine Selen-IX™ Plant
Selen-IX™ was developed by BQE Water specifically to address the difficult to remove “selenate” form of selenium from mine influenced waters employing a physico-chemical instead of a biological method of treatment. As the Kemess Mine plant enters the operations phase, Selen-IX™ becomes the first commercially available non-biological treatment process to be applied on a large industrial scale capable of removing selenate to levels below 2 parts per billion. This is achieved without the risk of inadvertent organo-selenium production that is associated with biological systems. Additionally, the solid residue produced by Selen-IX™ is stable and is suitable for blending with tailings. This plant provides confirmation that a proven non-biological treatment approach for selenate is now available, something that has been lacking since selenium regulations were first introduced.
About BQE Water
BQE Water is a service provider specializing in water treatment and management for metals mining, smelting and refining. We are helping to transform the way the industry thinks about water in the context of natural resource projects by offering services and expertise which enables more sustainable water management practices and improved overall project performance at reduced risks. BQE Water invests in innovation and has developed unique intellectual property through the commercialization of several new technologies at mine sites around the world for organizations including Glencore, Jiangxi Copper, Freeport-McMoRan and the US EPA. BQE Water is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol BQE. Visit www.bqewater.com for more information.
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