BioteQ Commissions Copper Recovery Plant in China

BioteQ Environmental Technologies has initiated commissioning of a new plant at the Dexing mine site in China, as part of a joint venture with Jiangxi Copper. The $4.2-million plant, according to the company, will recover copper, using BioteQ’s proprietary ChemSulphide process, to produce a saleable metal product and clean water that can be discharged to the environment. The project partners share equally in the capital and operating costs, as well as the metals recovered.

In the ChemSulphide process, chemical sulphide is added to a contactor tank where it mixes with the water to be treated under controlled conditions to selectively precipitate metals as a metal sulphide. The precipitated metals and water are pumped to a clarifier tank where the clean water is separated from the metal solids and discharged or recycled. The metal solids are filtered to remove excess water, producing a high grade metal sulphide product suitable for refining. To recover separate metal sulphide products, separate contactor and clarifier tanks are set up in series.

Commissioning is expected to take three to four months. When complete, the plant will begin processing metal-laden waste water from several sources at Dexing, and the joint venture will begin generating revenues. It is anticipated that the plant will initially produce a minimum of 1 million lb of copper per year. The joint venture plans to increase the volume of water processed in stages. The maximum capacity of the plant is 4.4 million lb per year, depending on the copper grade and volume of acidic water treated. The copper product will be refined at the Jiangxi Copper refinery.

The Dexing mine, located near Dexing City in Jiangxi Province in southeastern China, currently produces 120,000 mt/y of copper concentrate from flotation concentrate and also operates a heap leach using SX-EW to produce copper cathode from low-grade stockpiles. Daily production at the mine is 100,000 mt of ore and the current resource is estimated to provide 50 years of operation at current production rates. Drainage from the mine’s waste dumps and low grade stockpiles is acidic and contains copper values.

The company also recently reported that it had struck a development agreement with Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold to jointly engineer, construct and operate a demonstration plant for the removal of sulphate and other dissolved solids at the Sierrita copper mine site in southern Arizona, using its proprietary Sulf-IX ion-exchange technology. The plant, to be constructed in 2008, is expected to have a total capacity of 125 gallons per minute.

As featured in Womp 07 Vol 9 -