BQE Water Inc., a leader in mine water management, has entered into an Operating Services Agreement with AuRico Metals Inc (a wholly owned subsidiary of Centerra Gold Inc) for water treatment at the Kemess mine site in Northern British Columbia, Canada. The treatment plant will remove heavy metals and selenium. The selenium removal portion of the overall treatment will utilize BQE Water’s patented Selen-IX™ process and treat up to 6,400 m3/day of mine impacted water.
The initial term of the agreement is five years beginning on January 1, 2020 and includes a provision for a three year term extension subject to satisfactory plant performance. The services provided by BQE Water under the agreement and the compensation received, will be similar to the Raglan Mine water treatment agreement with Glencore where BQE Water earns treatment fees linked directly to the volume of water discharged into the environment subject to effluent water quality meeting project requirements. The agreement follows an earlier Engineering Services Agreement between AuRico and BQE Water to implement the proposed treatment at the site.
“We have been working with BQE Water for the past three years to advance our Kemess Underground Mine project in BC,” stated John Fitzgerald, VP Projects & Technical Services of Centerra Gold. “After a successful pilot program, we received regulatory approvals for advancing the project with Selen-IX™ as the means of controlling selenium in environmental discharge over the project life.”
David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water, commented, “The signing of this agreement represents a major milestone for us. Not only does it increase the portfolio of plants operated by BQE Water and will contribute recurring revenue in North America, but crucially it assigns the responsibility for the start-up and operation of the first commercial scale Selen-IX™ plant to us as the technology provider. Based on our 14 years of operations experience at the Raglan Mine project, we believe that this agreement provides an excellent platform for Centerra Gold and BQE Water to develop a long-term relationship vested in the success of the Kemess Underground project.”
Detailed engineering for the plant has been issued for construction and the project is currently in early stages of procurement and equipment fabrication. The plant is expected to complete commissioning by the end of 2019 with operations beginning in 2020.
Selen-IX is a water treatment process technology that combines ion exchange and electro-reduction to remove selenium from large volumes of wastewater. As a purely physico-chemical process, Selen-IX is insensitive to water temperature and is highly adaptable to variability in water flows and selenium levels.
BQE Water developed Selen-IX specifically as a non-biological method of selenium removal from industrial wastewater to the most stringent limits in the US and Canada without relying on dilution in the receiving environment. The process fixes selenium into stable refractory non-hazardous solids suitable for co-disposal with tailings and potential offtake by steel producers. As an entirely non-biological process, Selen-IX does not increase the risks of selenium bioavailability across treatment and/or acute fish toxicity which are real risks for biological treatment systems.
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 at an accelerated rate. When selenium is present in water at higher concentrations, it is harmful to most fish and other aquatic life. As a result, selenium management has been identified as an important environmental issue by regulators and the industry in North America.
About BQE Water
BQE Water is a service provider specializing in water treatment and management for the mining and metallurgical industry. We focus on reducing Life Cycle Costs through solutions that reduce risks and long-term environmental liabilities while introducing sustainability into the overall water management plan. We have extensive expertise in the removal, recovery, and/or recycle of a broad range of metals, sulphate, selenium, cyanide, ammonia and other nitrogen species. BQE Water has commercialized several water treatment technologies and built plants at mine sites around the world for organizations including Glencore, Jiangxi Copper, Freeport-McMoRan and the US EPA. We also provide plant operation and maintenance services and currently operate several plants under long-term contract. BQE Water is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol BQE. For more information, visit www.bqewater.com.