VANCOUVER, B.C.– BioteQ Environmental Technologies, Inc. (TSX: BQE), a leader in the treatment of metal and sulphate contaminated water, announced today that it has come to agreement with Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold to place their joint venture water treatment plant located in Bisbee, Arizona on furlough as of April 1, 2009. During the furlough period, BioteQ and Freeport will initiate technical improvements and cost reduction measures that are expected to improve the profitability of the joint venture.
A reduced complement of BioteQ staff will remain on site to implement technical changes, including the use of a lower cost electron donor for the bioreactor. BioteQ will maintain the bioreactor activity at a level that would allow a rapid ramp-up in production should input costs and revenue meet minimum criteria for operations. The cost of power and consumables is expected to be minimal during the furlough period. BioteQ is responsible for the labour costs associated with BioteQ staff at the joint venture plant while Freeport is responsible for the labour cost associated with Freeport staff. Freeport has agreed to assume site overhead costs for the joint venture during the furlough period, and to initiate work on assessing various options for improving copper extraction from the stockpile. In addition, the joint venture will investigate opportunities to increase the revenue from the high grade copper product recovered. During the furlough period, the stockpile wastewater will be re-circulated back onto the stockpile, which is anticipated to increase the concentration of copper in solution available for treatment when the plant resumes operation.
Brad Marchant, BioteQ’s CEO stated, “This furlough period provides an opportunity for the joint venture to re-structure operations so that they are sustainable during this time of soft commodity prices, while meeting the environmental objectives for water treatment.”
BioteQ and Freeport have agreed to regularly review the status of the project, and maintain the plant so that operations can be re-initiated quickly when the profitability of the operation is improved. A timeline for start-up has not been established; however, the joint venture will review the project on a quarterly basis.
BioteQ Corporate Profile
BioteQ is an industrial water treatment company that applies innovative technologies to solve complex water problems, reducing environmental liabilities while generating revenue from wastewater. The Company’s commercially proven technologies treat industrial wastewater contaminated with dissolved heavy metals and sulphate, producing saleable by-products and clean water that can be discharged safely to the environment. BioteQ has built 8 plants at sites in Canada, the US, China, Australia and Mexico, with additional projects in design and construction. BioteQ is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, and trades on the TSX under the symbol BQE. For additional information, please go to www.bqewater.com.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
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