Ross Orr, President of BacTech Environmental explains the company’s patented technology used for reclaiming tailings and mining waste materials.
If you go back 80 years when flotation was introduced into mining they recovered the sulphides, which contained the metal but they would lose 20% of it going into the tailings. Over time they oxidized, they create sulphuric acid. They leave the tailings, they take with it arsenic, selenium, copper, nickel and anything soluble in acid and that’s acid rock drainage, everybody knows that term.
Our work force is natural bacteria. We use bacteria to liberate metals from difficult to treat usually high arsenic concentrates. What we do is we take the sulphides that are taken from the concentrates, from the tailings, bioleach them and recover the metals for our own account but more importantly we oxidise the sulphides thereby eliminating future acid drainage issues.
We are a low cost, low risk way of participating in metal production because we are drilling tailings and they tend to be twenty to fifty feet in thickness. They are very easy to drill because somebody’s already done all the heavy lifting and ground the materials to sand like consistency.
So, that’s one way we are doing it and the other way is in Ecuador is will be buying concentrates from one source and that will be our customer. They do all the heavy lifting, we do the processing. We are in the process of drilling 50 holes right now of which we’re probably half way through that program and the initial results are very, very promising.
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