PLANT

BioteQ places its Bisbee plant on furlough indefinitely

Joint venture with miner was not generating positive cash flow as volumes declined.


VANCOUVER — BioteQ Environmental Technologies Inc. has placed its idled copper recovery facility in Bisbee, Ariz. on indefinite furlough because of poor financial returns.

The Vancouver-based developer of industrial wastewater treatment technology and its 50/50 joint venture partner Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold have also agreed that the plant shall not restart under the existing operating arrangement.

The plant, which uses BioteQ’s BioSulphide process technology to remove copper from wastewater at a closed mine site, suspended operations in September after unusually high levels of rainfall in the area during July and August.

BioteQ said while the plant was in idle mode in August operational and process issues led to a gas being released. An investigation revealed the release was caused by a partial blockage in a pipe and the concurrent failure of a seal mechanism.

The decision to cease operations was based on the Bisbee facility generating positive cash flow only once since 2009, and the volume of solution processed has declined steadily since 2008.

BioteQ said the plant is on furlough for an indefinite period until a decision is made about its future.