A 2023 survey found that, in the coming years, water management will be a top environmental concern among mining investors, with decarbonisation following closely behind. Investors expect miners to make better decisions, and water solutions treatment company Clean TeQ (ASX: CNQ) wants to help miners do so.
The Company has decided to acquire accelerated dewatering technology ATA® from Soane Labs LLC, a US-based company, to improve mine waste management. This acquisition is a crucial move for Clean TeQ as it aligns with its strategic goal to expand into the worldwide sector of mine tailings restoration and metal recovery.
The Company first announced the signing of the global tech license agreement on August 9, 2022. The agreement gave Clean TeQ an exclusive license to exploit the ATA technology, with an option to purchase the technology, at Clean TeQ Water’s discretion and at a pre-agreed value, within 18 months of signing. Accordingly, the Company has decided to exercise this option and purchase the tech for $3 million.
CEO of Clean TeQ Water, Peter Voigt, said, “ATA represents a step change for the mining industry in economically and sustainably managing current and future mine tailings. We have been working with the ATA technology for over 12 months and are satisfied that it has the potential to change the way mine tailings are processed for mine rehabilitation.
“ATA complements Clean TeQ’s market-leading metal extraction technologies and enables the Company’s strategy to become a leader in the global mine tailings management industry in the rapidly growing global mine tailings management industry.”
ATA is a technology that can make managing mine waste much better, with regard to both affordability and eco-friendliness. It does this by quickly separating water and solid materials from the waste, leaving behind dry waste that can be stacked up without needing expensive machines or filtration methods. Plus, it can recycle water for use in mining operations and even save metals that would otherwise be thrown away as waste. In underground mining, the compacted material can also be employed for filling empty spaces, either with or without adding cement.
Mining companies are focusing more on making their waste cleanup both cost-effective and environmentally-sound. This comes as companies increasingly emphasise sustainable metal production, reducing legacy issues and improving social licence to operate.
For Clean TeQ, dewatering mine waste represents a substantial market potential. Managing tailings is a major environmental and safety concern for the mining sector, especially in regions with low natural evaporation rates like tropical areas or areas prone to seismic activity, which increases the risk of geotechnical issues.
Clean TeQ will deploy ATA in conjunction with its proprietary metal extraction technologies (Clean-iX®) as part of a strategy to provide the mining industry with a holistic mine tailings rehabilitation, or mine waste management, solution.
Plus, as a result of the agreement, Soane Labs will get 7,178,033 fully paid shares in the Company as part of the deal. These shares will be held for 12 months in a restricted account, and their value is based on the average share price in the ten days before the agreement was signed.
As environmental regulations become more stringent due to heightened perceptions of risk associated with tailings storage, ATA’s dewatering solution will improve the mining industry’s environmental reputation and hopefully reduce operational and mine site restoration expenses.
Clean TeQ is planning pilot-scale testing at several sites in the coming months leading to full scale commercial implementation.
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