BacTech, Labris Mining sign environmental deal

Canadian firm BacTech Environmental has partnered with Turkey-based Labris Mining to examine projects where the former can bring in environmentally sound bioleaching
BacTech, Labris Mining sign environmental deal BacTech, Labris Mining sign environmental deal BacTech, Labris Mining sign environmental deal BacTech, Labris Mining sign environmental deal BacTech, Labris Mining sign environmental deal

The deal, effective February 18, comes as Labris rapidly increases the diversity of machinery and equipment used in Turkish operations.

To date, BacTech has licenced and built three commercial bioleach plants; Labris said Turkey's mining operations provide an ideal geological background for bioleaching implementation.

"Arsenopyrite, as well as other refractory sulphide deposits, are abundant in Turkey," BacTech noted.

"Given the attention new projects attract in mining it is imperative that mining and mineral processing adhere to the environmental demands of the community for development of a new deposit, while maximising metal recovery and revenue."

The Canadian group said that its technology is amenable to processing high arsenic concentrates, as well as low-grade concentrates typically unacceptable to smelting. The concentrates are commonly diluted with other elements that are not readily removed in order to produce a smelter-grade product with high metal recovery. Bioleaching, meanwhile, can process a gold/copper concentrate on-site - with gold liberated for recovery and copper precipitated to produce a copper sulphate or LME grade A Cathode copper.

"The mineralogy of many copper gold deposits is also becoming increasingly complex, giving difficulty in maximising both gold and copper recovery into a single concentrate without considerable metal losses in concentrate production. In such cases, both smelting and bioleaching may be appropriate for treating separate concentrates from gold/copper projects," the firm said.

BacTech's bioleaching process to recover metals, it said, neutralises sulphides and ARD and stabilises toxic elements, including arsenic, cadmium and bismuth. It uses naturally occurring bacteria, harmless to both humans and the environment, to oxidise the contained sulphides and separate metal from the difficult-to-process tailings.

The tailings created by bioleaching are benign, and zero environmental damage occurs as a result of the process, it said, with environmentally non-toxic by-products delivered back to the tailings pile.