ARIZONA - Vancouver-based BIOTEQ ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGIES has joined FREEPORT MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD to build and operate a demonstration plant for the removal of sulphate and other dissolved solids at the Sierrita copper mine, 40 km south of Tucson. Construction is scheduled during 2008.
The plant will test BioteQ's propriety Sulf-IX ion-exchange technology. The process has several potential advantages compared with other sulphate removal technologies (such as reverse osmosis), including lower capital and operating costs, and elimination of a residual product that would require either further treatment and/or costly disposal. The only byproduct of the Sulf-IX process is solid gypsum, which is commonly used in the manufacture of fertilizers and building products. Gypsum is non-toxic and forms under atmospheric conditions, which is in contrast with conventional membrane processes for sulphate removal that require the energy-intensive formation of solid crystals and their subsequent disposal in licensed depositories.
It is anticipated that the treated water produced by the Sulf-IX process will meet international standards for water recycling for municipal and agricultural applications.
The Sulf-IX technology is discussed in more detail at www.BioteQ.ca.