BacTech Environmental Outlines Plans For 2020 Ecuador Arsenic/Gold Processing
Thursday, February 20th, 2020
Toronto, Canada: BacTech Environmental Corporation (“BacTech or the Company”) (CSE:BAC; OTC:BCCEF) today announced its plans for the current year with respect to the Company’s Ecuador project.
BacTech has identified the Ponce Enriquez area of southern Ecuador as an area where the Company’s bioleaching technology can be successfully deployed for environmental processing of locally produced concentrates. Given the high levels of arsenic contained in the ore from the area, miners receive significantly reduced prices for their concentrates due to penalties applied by the buyers. The buyers tend to be from Asia where concentrates are shipped for conventional smelting and/or roasting. The concentrates are subject to a 3% royalty on the gold value payable to the government of Ecuador. BacTech believes that by implementing an in-country bioleach plant it can offer superior pricing for these concentrates to the local producers, provide domestic Ecuadorian employment opportunities; and, increase local and federal tax revenue for the government. It should be noted that the final arsenical product resulting from bioleaching, ferric arsenate, is a US Environmental Protection Agency approved land-fillable form of arsenic.
Plans for 2020
The initial capacity for the proposed plant would be 40 tonnes per day of arsenopyrite and refractory pyrite concentrates. At this stage the Company will be pursuing its goals with 100% ownership but BacTech would consider a joint venture partner going forward. An Ecuadorian partner-company would be our preference. BacTech will act strictly as a purchaser and processor of third party concentrates and will not own any mineral properties in Ecuador.
In the above chart we can see that the first step in the process involves ear-marking suitable concentrates for which a detailed bioleach test program will be undertaken. In previous visits to Ponce Enriquez the Company has already identified 2 mines, each of which produce approximately 15 tons of concentrate per day. The estimated time to complete the test work is 16-20 weeks after which BacTech would establish the projected gold recovery and sulphide oxidation ratios as well as gaining a good understanding of the flow sheet for the plant. Previous test work carried out at Laurentian University on sample from Ponce Enriquez showed very high oxidation levels for the sulphide minerals with over 99% of the arsenic stabilized as ferric arsenate.
During this period BacTech would begin the process of obtaining permits for the plant. Applications will be made to the Ministries of Mining, Water and Environment, for approval of a water usage license, and tailings approval for the post bioleach residues. There will also be consultation with the local municipal government with respect to land acquisition and approval for building permits for the plant. It should be noted that Ponce Enriquez is a very active mining area with over 90 producing mines of various sizes, and we do not expect to face local opposition given the environmental and economic benefits associated with our project.
If the results of the bioleach test work are in line with projections, BacTech will begin a combination of a pre-feasibility followed by a bankable feasibility study. It should be noted that these studies are for a commercial operating plant and do not involve any aspects of underground resource estimation or mining engineering. For this reason, the study should be relatively straight forward and less costly than a full-blown bankable study.
Using the flow sheet developed during the bioleach test work, the final piece of this phase of the project would be detailed engineering. It is our intent to rely heavily on the designs from previous plants that BacTech has built which addressed material with very similar mineralogical structure.
We estimate that the cost to get the project to a “shovel ready” state will be approximately US$800,000. The actual budget for construction, procurement and materiel is estimated to be $US7.5M with a 20% variance based on costs from past projects. The detailed engineering will allow the company to reduce the variance in the budget. The estimated time to complete the pre-construction studies is approximately 12 months with the permitting being the longest part of the process. At the end of this process BacTech will actively pursue contractual concentrate feeds from local sources and quite possibly from neighbouring countries such as Peru. Once the Company successfully completes the initial plant, it is conceivable we will attract enough feed to exceed the plant’s capacity. This could lead to a straight-forward expansion as BacTech’s plants are modular in design.
With respect to the current financing, BacTech will use a portion of the proceeds to obtain representative samples from 2 mines in Ponce Enriquez to begin the bioleach test phase. Results will be published at the end of the study in approximately 5-6 months. Representatives of the Company met with the Ecuadorian Government last week to outline the permitting process.
The effects of exposure to arsenic include increased risks of lung and bladder cancer and skin changes in people ingesting arsenic in drinking water at concentrations of 50 µg/litre, or even lower. Exposure to arsenic in the workplace by inhalation can also cause lung cancer.
In addition, by using bioleaching instead of traditional smelting/roasting we avoid the creation of sulphur dioxide emissions into the atmosphere created by burning sulphide mineralization.
BacTech is investigating the use of its proprietary bioleach processing technology to treat historic arsenopyrite concentrates and tailings produced in the Ponce Enriquez area of Southern Ecuador.
BacTech has agreed to participate with a group looking to reprocess the Arsenic Stockpile in Snow Lake, Manitoba as a technology part.
For further information contact: Ross Orr, President & CEO, BacTech Environmental Corporation/ 416-813-0303 ext. 222, Cell 416-346-5529 and Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robin Cook, Investor Relations: 416-809-1738, Email: email@example.com
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Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains “forward-looking information”, which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to future tailings sites, sampling or other investigations of tailing sites, the Company’s ability to make use of infrastructure around tailings sites or operating performance of the Company and its projects. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified using words such as “plans”, “expects”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates”, or believes” or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this news release and the Company disclaims, other than as required by law, any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether because of new information, results, future events, circumstances, or if management’s estimates or opinions should change, or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
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