- BacTech Environmental is an Ontario, Canada-based company that uses microbial bacteria for “bioleaching” the arsenic from historic and often-abandoned mine projects, leaving the sites environmentally restored and making their precious metals easier to process
- The company has attained equity interests in mine remediation projects in Bolivia and Ecuador, and it is working with Ontario’s Cambrian College to identify the “best bugs” to tackle the arsenic in those countries
- BacTech recently strengthened its financing with a two-tranche funding effort that’s expected to bring in $125,000
Environmental remediation at mine tailing sites has gained a natural, even holistic, advocate in the form of BacTech Environmental Corp. (CSE: BAC) (OTC: BCCEF), a Toronto-based “bioleaching” corporation that aims to put microbes to work in stabilizing dangerous arsenic mine waste and recovering more precious metals in the process.
“Our Bugs Eat Rocks,” one company video presentation declared in 2013 (http://ibn.fm/PjkJd). CEO and President Ross Orr explained in the video how BacTech’s proprietary technology was being primed for use in cleaning up tailings at the former Telamayu project in Bolivia – a mill that received ore for processing for nearly a century from various mines in the area until it was abandoned over 50 years ago.
The plan is to use naturally occurring bacteria to clean up sulfide tailings at such projects, he said.
“The tailings there (in Bolivia) have been oxidizing for some time and releasing acid mine drainage into the local river, which of course goes right into the town of Atocha next door,” Orr added.
Orr issued a call for funding the cleanup project through the medium of the video, a request that has been repeated a number of times since. Last month, BacTech announced its most recent success in obtaining capital to advance its bioleaching project, referring to a two-tranche private placement financing effort that’s expected to bring in $125,000 (http://ibn.fm/ZOj1S).
A second BacTech project involves the potential use of bioleach processing to treat historic arsenopyrite concentrates and tailings produced in Southern Ecuador by small mom-and-pop operations. Environmental microbiologist Nadia Mykytczuk has been working with BacTech to identify the best bacteria for the region’s needs and the ideal conditions for nurturing their growth inside fermentation tanks where the arsenic is stabilized even as precious metals are recovered. A research project has also grown out of the Ecuadorean reclamation effort, including a test facility with bioreactors at Cambrian College in Sudbury, near Toronto, according to publication Northern Ontario Business (http://ibn.fm/7LDgx).
“We’ve completed a year’s worth of test work to find the best bugs, under the best conditions, to extract the gold out of this high arsenic material,” Mykytczuk told Northern Ontario Business. “If you take a handful of tailings from Copper Cliff or Ecuador you have thousands to millions of individual organisms, and that diversity matters because those bugs are best adapted to those conditions. Nature knows best. It will have picked bugs that can grow in a particular situation. My goal is to demonstrate that we can use this technology to reprocess the many thousands of abandoned mines here that still hold a lot of value.”
BacTech Environmental’s strategy includes seeking an equity position in each remediation project it undertakes and augmenting related revenues with additional cash flow proceeding from metal recovery. Where possible, the company will also pursue governmental and non-governmental organization (NGO) funding for the projects.
The company notes that its strategy is based on the global demand for cleaning up mining areas as world populations become ever-more environmentally conscious, as well as the potential revenue stream resulting from the interest in remediation, as opposed to simple revenues from licensing the bioleaching technology to other firms for their uses.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.BacTechGreen.com