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Clean TeQ Water licences mine tailings dewatering technology

Australia’s Clean TeQ Water has signed an exclusive global technology licence agreement with Soane Labs for its Accelerated Dewatering Technology, known as ATA, with an option to purchase the technology within an 18 month period.

An open pit copper mine.
An open pit copper mine. - Image © Nikola - Adobe Stock.

ATA is a polymer based technology which rapidly separates tailings into reusable high strength solids, and clarified water for immediate recycling.

The licence agreement will provide Clean TeQ Water with an 18-month evaluation period to complete due diligence and initiate pilot-scale demonstration to validate the performance and economics of the technology.

Clean TeQ Water's CEO Willem Vriesendorp said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Soane Labs, for what we believe is an incredibly exciting and versatile suite of technologies that will strongly position our company to provide new solutions in mine waste management. Licencing the ATA technology complements our existing strategy of identifying technologies that apply low-cost solutions to address large-scale problems and with a minimal energy footprint.”

ATA was developed to provide a safe and low-cost mine tailings treatment process by rapidly separating water and solids to produce stackable tailings and recycled water. The technology uses smart chemistry to rapidly agglomerate the solids in ore slurries. The solids are screen filtered and dewatered under their own gravity, or using low pressure filters. The resulting materials can be compressed and stacked, with the extracted water being returned to recycle, dramatically reducing water usage. In underground mining operations the compact material may also be used for backfill, with or without cement.

Mine waste dewatering presents an enormous market opportunity for Clean TeQ Water. Dewatering presents a significant environmental and safety challenge at many mine sites around the world, particularly those located in tropical climates where natural evaporation rates are low, or where seismic activity increases geotechnical risks. Also, as environmental bonding requirements increase in response to higher perceived risk in managing tailings storage facilities, it will be rapid and low-cost dewatering technologies, like ATA, that will become key pillars of delivering on the mining industry’s ESG ambitions.

Clean TeQ Water believes that chemistry-based solutions to mine waste dewatering provide a far better outcome than mechanical-based processes. Current technologies employ a mix of high-pressure filtration and/or mechanical evaporation to remove water from slurry, which is both capital and energy intensive. Clean TeQ Water sees further benefits from the ATA technology where it can be used in conjunction with its proprietary ion exchange systems (CLEAN-IX) to recover valuable metals as part of a holistic mining rehabilitation program.

The ATA technology is already deployed in applications in South Africa for the rapid dewatering of mine tailings. These current applications will continue to be owned by Soane Labs, but the clients will be managed by Clean TeQ Water in the future based on an agreed revenue sharing arrangement. In addition, Clean TeQ Water is currently testing the ATA technologies in base metals and precious metals applications. The intention is to deploy the technology at potential client sites in coming months for pilot-scale testing.

The licencing agreement is effective immediately and will be supplemented by a consulting services agreement for Soane Labs to provide on-going support to Clean TeQ Water for the duration of the licence.