VANCOUVER, BC – BQE Water Inc. (TSX-V: BQE), a leader in the management of mining and metallurgical waste streams, has advanced the SART plant it designed for a gold metallurgical facility owned by Zhaojin Mining Industry Company (“Zhaojin”), one of the largest gold smelting and leading gold producers in China, to full production. Located in the Eastern coastal province of Shandong, the SART plant is being operated under the ongoing technical supervision of BQE Water.
Full production of the SART plant was reached rapidly within a month from initial start-up and notably, with zero safety incidents. The plant will continue to treat leach solution and is expected to recover approximately 600 tonnes of cyanide, 500 tonnes of copper and 350 tonnes of zinc annually. The recovered cyanide will be re-used within the metallurgical process and the copper and zinc will be sold to generate incremental revenues. This is the first SART plant in the world to recover copper and zinc as separate products.
“We are very proud of our China based operations team for another timely execution to commission the second ever SART plant in China. The Zhaojin SART plant is operating as intended even with the greater than anticipated base metal concentrations in the feed. Our ability to resolve operating issues for gold metallurgical facilities is not going unnoticed by other gold producers in the country,” stated Songlin Ye, Vice President for Asia at BQE Water.
David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, added, “Safe and fast ramp-up to full production is essential to all projects. The Zhaojin plant demonstrates our proficiency to deliver this service for SART which requires uniquely advanced safety systems and operator training to mitigate cyanide and sulphide toxicity risks. The fact that we were able to ramp-up the plant under conditions that drastically differed from the design so quickly and without a safety incident is a testament to the experience and capabilities of our team.”
The successful start-up was achieved despite conditions that deviated significantly from design parameters. Copper and zinc concentrations in the plant feed exceeded design values by 600% and 200% respectively due to the historic build-up of cyanide soluble metals in the metallurgical process that impacted efficient gold extraction and triggered the need for SART.
This is the second BQE Water designed SART plant in China to go into full production, similar to the first for Shangdong Zhongkuang Group Company that was previously announced on March 9, 2021. The Zhaojin SART plant is also integrated with the existing gold metallurgical process facility and implementing SART at Zhaojin enables cyanide management which improves both the environmental performance and project economics of the metallurgical facility.
About the Significance of Cyanide Management for the Gold Mining Industry
Regulations around the world are advancing and target not only residual cyanide contained in wastewater and tailings produced by mining and metallurgical operations but also place strict limits for cyanidation and cyanide destruction by-products such as ammonia, cyanate, thiocyanate and nitrite. A key aspect of cyanide management is cyanide recovery and recycle. The more cyanide that can be reused, the less fresh new cyanide that needs to be consumed and the less cyanide that must be destroyed by using additional chemicals which produce by-products requiring additional management. The goal is to ensure all discharges are non-toxic and do not cause impacts to the receiving environment. As such, proper cyanide management is key to the permitting of new projects and securing a social license for gold producers.
About the Significance of Shandong Province for China’s Gold Production
Gold output for Shandong Province reached 120 tonnes (3.8 M troy ounces) in 2018 and remained steady into 2020, and accounts for 30% of China’s total gold production. The province is home to the country’s top gold producers who are expanding their influence globally. In the region alone where BQE Water has designed and implemented two SART plants, there are more than a dozen metallurgical plants that focus on gold extraction and refining.
About BQE Water’s Expertise in Cyanide Management
BQE Water is a global leader in the SART process which enables cyanide consumed by base metals to be recovered and recycled, lowering the cost of gold extraction and reducing the environmental footprint of gold mining projects. BQE Water also provides solutions to manage the by-products of cyanidation and cyanide destruction such as ammonia, nitrite and thiocyanate removal.
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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