Green tech company BacTech Environmental Corp. (BAC:CSE;BCCEF:OTC;OBT1:FRA) received a welcome surprise this month when it learned the construction permit for its bioleaching processing plant in Ecuador was approved quicker than expected.
President and Chief Executive Officer Ross Orr said the company had expected approval for the plant, set to start production near Ponce Enriquez in Q1 2023, to take months.
"The government is very committed to getting this project done because they can see the benefits," Orr told Streetwise Reports. "They see that not all mining is bad. We still need to do it."
Bioleaching technology has been in limited use since the 1980s. According to Genome Atlantic, it was first used commercially at the Fairview gold mine in South Africa in 1986. The process, which uses naturally occurring bacteria to process metals, makes it possible to work with lower-grade ore and extract metals from tailings sites as well as mines.
"For people who 'get' its business and ability to profitably process arsenic-laden and gold-bearing material, do better for local miners in Ecuador, and still make a very healthy income itself, this all vindicates and confirms years' worth of work."
—Chris Temple, editor and publisher of The National Investor
More than 90 small mines in the Ponce Enriquez area produce a significant amount of arsenic — which is bad for the environment and local health — in concert with gold, the company said. The 50 tonne-per-day BacTech plant would be capable of treating high gold/arsenic material and producing 1.75 ounces of gold per tonne of feed for about 30,900 ounces of gold per year, the company said. The total market in the Ponce Enriquez area is estimated to be 250 tonnes per day, so there is potential for increased throughput.
Data from EPCM Consultores found that the project would have pre-tax earnings of approximately $10.9 million and a two-year payback period.
BacTech has said it also intends to return local miner compensation back to previous payment levels prior to a sweeping price reduction imposed by Chinese buyers due to recent import levies on arsenic/gold concentrates entering China.
"For people who 'get' its business and ability to profitably process arsenic-laden and gold-bearing material, do better for local miners in Ecuador, and still make a very healthy income itself, this all vindicates and confirms years' worth of work," Chris Temple, editor and publisher of The National Investor, wrote recently in a piece contributed to Streetwise Reports.
Orr said receiving the permit showed the area's commitment to the project.
"Permitting is everything," Orr said. "If nobody wants it, it's not going to happen. But nobody complains when you're cleaning something up."
The company in March announced it had closed on the first tranche of a non-brokered private placement for $1.21 million at a price of $0.20 per unit. It had expected to raise as much as $3 million, but Orr said the war in Ukraine temporarily delayed those plans.
Orr said with few "feel-good stories" in mining, they will still be able to attract investors.
"We'll get our $3 million," he said.
1) Steve Sobek compiled this article for Streetwise Reports LLC. He or members of his household own securities of the following companies mentioned in the article: None. He or members of his household are paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.
2) The following companies mentioned in this article are billboard sponsors of Streetwise Reports: BacTech Environmental Corp. Click here for important disclosures about sponsor fees. As of the date of this article, an affiliate of Streetwise Reports has a consulting relationship with BacTech Environmental Corp. Please click here for more information. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.
4) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned. Directors, officers, employees or members of their immediate families are prohibited from making purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise from the time of the decision to publish an article until three business days after the publication of the article. The foregoing prohibition does not apply to articles that in substance only restate previously published company releases. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of BacTech Environmental Corp., a company mentioned in this article.