The treatment plant will remove heavy metals and selenium, with the latter being achieved using the Selen-IX process at a rate of 6,400 cubic metres of mine impacted water daily.
The agreement outlines a five-year term beginning January 1, 2020, and contains a provision for an additional three-year extension subject to the performance of the plant.
While no financial details were disclosed, BQE said agreement and compensation received will be similar to that of Glencore's Raglan mine, where BQE earns treatment fees that tie directly to water volumes discharged into the environment (subject to effluent water quality meeting project requirements). It also follows a prior deal between AuRico and BQE to implement the proposed treatment.
"We have been working with BQE Water for the past three years to advance our Kemess underground mine project in BC," Centerra vice president of projects and technical services John Fitzgerald said. "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."
BQE Water president and CEO David Kratochvil called the agreement with AuRico a major milestone.
"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."
The plant's detailed engineering for construction has been released, and the project is now in the early stages of procurement and equipment fabrication. Commissioning should be completed by the end of next year, with operations to follow in 2020.
BQE was notified of Patent 9,963,360, which includes the major elements of its process for the selective removal of dissolved selenium from large amounts of aqueous solutions via electro-reduction, in August. Selen-IX has been specifically designed to remove selenium from industrial wastewater within the most stringent limits in the US and Canada without using dilution in receiving environment.
The patent is valid until 2035.