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Snow Lake Arsenic Stockpile

 
 

In December 2011, BacTech Environmental signed a contract with the Mines Branch of the Manitoba Department of Innovation, Energy and Mines to remediate a stockpile of arsenopyrite concentrate located in the community of Snow Lake in Northern Manitoba.

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BacTech proposed a “no cost to the taxpayer” approach to the clean up. The Company would have recovered payable metals for its own account from the stockpile, while stabilizing the contained arsenic. The Company’s bio-oxidation technology has been used successfully in the gold industry for many years to aid the extraction of gold from arsenical concentrates, while stabilizing arsenic values into a benign form.

BacTech’s interest in the project stemmed from test work completed in 2010, in which bioleaching technology was determined to be well suited for the stabilization of the high levels of arsenic in the stockpile.

The Snow Lake stockpile was created in the 1950s as a by-product of gold production from the Nor Acme Mine. Due to the refractory nature of the ore and its high arsenic levels, it was decided at that time to float an arsenopyrite concentrate that would be processed at a later date. Based on an independent NI 43-101 report , the stockpile is estimated at approximately 300,000 tonnes, with an average grade of approximately 9.7 grams per tonne of gold. The stockpile is 6 m to 10 m high and encompasses an approximate area of 19,500 m2.

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Since signing the contract with the government, BacTech engaged the services of Micon International Limited to provide an independent Economic Study for the proposed reclamation. In August 2012, the study was completed and preliminary results released. The final study was posted to Sedar in October (www.sedar.com) and is also available on this website in the Snow Lake NI 43-101 section.

There are three inherent problems with the Snow Lake project that, unfortunately, could not be overcome. First, the price of gold dropped dramatically thereby reducing the value of the concentrate going into the bioleach circuit.

Second, the iron to arsenic ratio, which should be 3:1 to make a benign ferric arsenate product, was only 1.8:1 The additional cost of adding ferric iron to the process raised the cost per ounce of production dramatically.

Finally, limestone, which is usually ubiquitous, apparently isn’t so in Manitoba. Bioleaching uses a lot of limestone to neutralize the acidic nature of the liquids in the tanks. The closest source to Snow Lake was 400 km away. Normally, $5-$10 per tonne, we were quoted prices, delivered to Snow Lake, of over $70 per tonne. The combination of these three factors led to the Company’s departure from the project.

We do want to go on record and state that the people of Snow lake were very welcoming to us and assisted us at every opportunity. There is an answer out there for this clean up but it will not be bioleaching.

Snow Lake NI 43-101

Technical Report: Gold Residue Stockpile, Snow Lake, Manitoba: Mineral Resource Estimation. Effective date: July 20, 2011

Consent of Qualified Person to File Technical Report on Sedar

Certificate of Qualified Person

News Release December 9, 2011: BacTech Files NI 43-101 Technical Report for Snow Lake Gold Residue Stockpile Resource Estimate

News Release, October 17, 2011: BacTech Announces NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate for Snow Lake Gold Residue Stockpile

Report: NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment Study for the BacTech Snow Lake Reclamation Project, Snow Lake, Manitoba. Effective date: August 27, 2012

Consents of Qualified Persons to File Report on Sedar

Certificates of Qualified Persons

News Release October 12, 2012: BacTech Files Preliminary Economic Assessment Study

News Release August 27, 2012: BacTech Releases Positive Preliminary Economic Assessment on the Remediation of the Snow Lake Arsenopyrite Residue Stockpile and Announces Private Placement

Environmental Assessment Report submitted to the Environmental Approvals Branch, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, December 2012, Posted for public comment February 14, 2013

Notice of Environment Act Proposal, Environmental Approvals Branch, Conservation and Water Stewardship, February 14, 2013

Show Snow Lake Reports and Applications

Notice of Environment Act Proposal
Environmental Approvals Branch
Conservation and Water Stewardship
February 2013 

Environmental Assessment Report: Remediation Project
BacTech Environmental Corporation
December 2012
Submitted to Environmental Approvals Branch
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship