To liberate billions of dollars of battery metals from tailings in the Sudbury Basin through the scale-up and commercialization of its patent-pending pyrrhotite bioleaching process – engineered to extract economic value and reduce environmental impact from mine waste.
Clearly, the world has changed to embrace both carbon reduction and an increased need for critical minerals. BacTech now sees the whole playing field and the potential to recover multiple resources from existing pyrrhotite tailings.
BacTech is aggressively pursuing a new pyrrhotite bioleaching initiative for Nickel-Cobalt, Sulphur and Green Iron recovery in Ontario’s Greater Sudbury Basin – an area believed to hold between 75 and 100 million tonnes of discarded pyrrhotite tailings containing US$22 billion worth of Nickel alone.
Having filed for a provisional patent application to protect its proprietary bioleaching pyrrhotite materials bioleaching approach earlier in April 2022, BacTech has teamed up with Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk, a member of BacTech’s biomining technology advisory board and Interim CEO and President of MIRARCO Mining Innovation, to build a bioleach pilot plant in Sudbury, Ontario.
The pilot plant will focus on testing and simulating a commercial bioleach process consisting of a cascade of reactors operating on a continuous basis. To date, one reactor has already been completed and is being used to test select concentrates from BacTech’s Tenguel project. This plant is expected to be operational by July 2022.
As global leaders and sustainability experts search for solutions to decarbonize steel production and shore up EV battery metal supply chains, the pilot facility will work to obtain the design data necessary to establish a fully integrated tonnage-based demonstration plant, then leading towards full-scale commercialization.
BacTech’s scientific path is to develop an innovative zero-carbon liberation and extraction approach to separate iron from its ore, in addition to optimizing nickel-cobalt recovery efforts. This value-added production approach differentiates this process from others, and builds on prior successful bioleaching testing efforts conducted by the Company decades ago.
BacTech believes its method answers the need raised by the Government of Canada to help accelerate the sustainable extraction and processing of critical minerals from existing mine tailings while investing in domestic production. On May 11, 2022, the Canadian government announced a $10.9M fund to assist with the construction of pilot plants and projects to support the development of critical mineral value chains. Accordingly, BacTech intends to answer this call for proposals.
“Global demands for green steel and EV battery metals have simply skyrocketed, as have the calls for mining operations and manufacturers to cut carbon emissions,” said Ross Orr, President, and CEO of BacTech Environmental. “Providing the solution to the complex pyrrhotite issue in the Sudbury Basin would be a tremendous win for BacTech and its shareholders. Tech advancements, government support and favourable economics all make this possible.”