VANCOUVER, BC- BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. (TSX VENTURE:BQE) is pleased to report that it has signed a development agreement with Columbia Metals Corporation Limited (TSX VENTURE:COL) for the development of a water treatment plant at their La Jojoba Gold Property located in the State of Sonora, Mexico. The water treatment plant 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 commercial agreement provides for the joint development of the process during the engineering stages, followed by a build-own-operate commercial structure whereby BioteQ will own the treatment plant in return for metals recovered and fees charged for cyanide regeneration.
Project Description – La Jojoba Gold Property
Columbia’s La Jojoba Gold Property is located in northern Mexico, approximately 2.5 hours drive from Tuscon, Arizona. The property has a well defined gold resource which is amenable to conventional heap leaching methods for gold recovery. The deposit also contains cyanide-soluble copper minerals, which consume cyanide during the gold extraction process, and can build up in the metallurgical process solutions and hinder maximum gold extraction. BioteQ’s biological sulphide technology for cyanide regeneration allows 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.
Based on initial estimates conducted by BioteQ, the addition of BioteQ’s technology to La Jojoba Gold project has the following potential advantages:
- Regeneration of over 4 million pounds of cyanide per year, which reduces the net consumption of cyanide for gold recovery by approximately one half, which could have a significant impact on the gold resource economics at this site,
- Regeneration of copper from cyanide solutions to improve the overall metallurgical performance of the gold heap leach operation by elimination of the build up of deleterious dissolved copper during gold extraction,
- The recovery of a saleable copper product from the copper-cyanide complexes in solution for incremental revenue, and
- The removal of copper from the site to eliminate the potential long term environmental impact of mobile copper waste products.
Based on preliminary estimates there is potential to regenerate approximately 3.6 million pounds of copper per year at a cost of $US 0.90 per pound, while cyanide regeneration costs are estimated to be approximately $US 0.70 per pound.
The agreement provides for equal shared costs during the initial engineering stages of the project followed by a build-own-operate arrangement for the commercial plant. BioteQ would finance, design, construct and operate the barren solution treatment plant and would retain all revenues from metal recovery until BioteQ’s capital is repaid including a return on investment, which would be followed by an equal share operation between BioteQ and Columbia with respect to copper recovered. In addition, BioteQ will charge a fee to Columbia for cyanide regeneration during the operation of the plant. BioteQ will be the operator of the plant.
Columbia is currently conducting a study to optimize the mine production and determine the overall mine life with the inclusion of the cyanide regeneration plant while BioteQ will complete an engineering study on the waste water treatment plant. Bulk sample testing and pilot testing of the cyanide regeneration process are scheduled over the next several months.
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, North Sonora 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 contaminated water through the use of its patented BioSulphide® Process and related sulphide based technologies. Focused on the mining industry, BioteQ has partnered with leading metal producers including Phelps Dodge, Breakwater, INCO 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