In a news release, Bunker Hill Mining Corp. (BNKR:CSE; BHLL:OTC) reported the successful commissioning of its water pre-treatment plant, designed to significantly improve the quality of mine water discharge from the Bunker Hill mine." The firm noted that the implementation of the processing system provides for the sustainable restart of mining operations that employ modern zero-footprint techniques to improve the surrounding environment.
Bunker Hill Mining's CEO Sam Ash remarked, "Managing our mine water discharge is an essential part of a strategy designed to rapidly re-start the Bunker Hill mine as a low cost, modern and sustainable operation. Together with our high-grade silver exploration program and delineation of our maiden NI 43-101 compliant resource, the successful commissioning of our pre-treatment plant marks another key milestone in achieving this goal and highlights our new team's technical capabilities. We remain on track to deliver our PEA by early Q2/21."
"I joined Bunker Hill last year because of the unique opportunity to re-start an iconic silver mine as a modern, sustainable operation in ways that improve the quality of the local environment. Commissioning of the water pre-treatment plant is an early demonstration of our commitment to delivering immediate and positive outcomes for the local communities living in Shoshone and Kootenai counties," stated Bradley Barnett, V.P. of Sustainability at Bunker Hill Mining.
The company noted that it kicked off its water management program in September 2020 with the objective of evaluating the status and health of the mine's water system and instituting measures to immediately improve the water quality of effluent leaving the mine. The firm noted that the water that is discharged from the mine is piped for "treatment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Central Treatment Plant (CTP)." The firm explained that the recently commissioned pre-treatment system significantly reduces the amount of treatment required at the CTP, which reduces associated costs. The company stated that its new pre-treatment system is now successfully removing over 70% of the metals from water before it leaves the mine and that it believes there is potential to improve that percentage further.
Based upon historical research provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, the company stated that it prepared a study of the Bunker Hill Mine's water system for the purposes of identifying areas where sulphuric acid mine drainage (AMD) is generated in the largest and highest concentrations and to gain an understanding on the route that the AMD flows through and out of the mine on its path towards the CTP.
The company was able to find out through this investigation that "approximately 85% of the metal load in the mine effluent is contained in only 1% of the water flow, allowing Bunker Hill to isolate and treat these intense AMD zones in ways that further reduce the downstream treatment requirements and costs at the CTP."
The company stated that the results obtained from testing performed on mine effluent discharged from the Kellogg Tunnel on February 2, 2021, point to a significant reduction in metal content versus prior periods. The firm stated that lab test carried out by environmental testing laboratory Silver Valley Analytical Inc., which is based in Kellogg, Idaho, showed a 71% reduction in zinc after just a few days of operation and similarly levels of dissolved cadmium decreased by 72% from the previous month.
Bunker Hill commented that as a routine part of its environmental management plans it will continue to work closely with the EPA and other stakeholders in monitoring the mine's internal water system and discharged water quality from the Kellogg Tunnel.
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