– Itronics’ Breakthrough Process Uses Silver to Extract Gold, Silver, and Copper and Addresses America’s “Critical Mineral” Shortage, Also Recovering Tin, Antimony, and Palladium –
Itronics Inc. (OTC:ITRO), an emerging “Cleantech Materials” growth Company that manufactures GOLD’n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilizers and produces Silver, today announced that through July 31, 2020 pilot scale silver bullion sales increased by 200 percent compared to 2019, from $27,900 to $83,900. Silver sales include revenues from gold and copper recovered from e-scrap (printed circuit boards) using the Company’s proprietary breakthrough e-scrap refining process which is now producing bullion on a regular basis.
The Company anticipates making one or two more bullion shipments this year which may generate up to 50% more revenue per shipment due to the increased precious metal prices. Silver prices have increased from $15.00 per troy ounce earlier this year to more than $25 per troy ounce currently, and gold has increased from $1700 per troy ounce to more than $1900 per troy ounce. Most of the bullion revenue is from silver sales.
Itronics wholly-owned subsidiary, Itronics Metallurgical, Inc., currently operates a pilot plant refinery at its Reno production facility. Full scale production will be implemented at the Itronics Cleantech Materials Campus north of Yerington, Nevada. Refinery construction is scheduled for 2023 and 2024. Growth plans set the production growth target at a 55-110 times increase, making Itronics one of the largest printed circuit board refiners in the U.S. Silver bullion production expansion will also benefit from silver recovered by Itronics’ Rock Tailings Processing. The Itronics Cleantech Materials Campus is strategically situated in Western Nevada close to California’s Silicon Valley and will be the only major printed circuit board refiner in the western U.S.
Itronics presents here an updated overview of the market scope, breakthrough e-scrap refining technology, and its emerging technology for recovering “Critical Minerals” from e-scrap. The Company’s breakthrough e-scrap refining technology is one of its “Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies” that is demonstrating the Company’s “Power of Zero” concept.
Itronics’ E-waste Refining Breakthrough; Gold, Silver, Copper + U.S. Critical Minerals
Electronic waste (e-waste) describes a vast array of discarded electronic devices. A small but valuable subset of this e-waste is made up of printed computer circuit boards, which contain various precious metals; just one ton of printed circuit boards contain about 40 times more gold than one ton of heap leach ore (https://www.simsrecycling.com/resources/circular-economy/). The annual increase in the use of electronic devices makes e-waste one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. The U.S. alone generated approximately 7 million tons of e-waste in 2016. Globally, the buildup of e-waste has more than doubled in the last decade.
According to the United Nations University, as of 2016 the yearly accumulation of e-waste had reached 49 million tons. By 2021, e-waste is predicted to exceed 57 million tons globally. Approximately $10 billion worth of gold, platinum and other precious metals are dumped every year, polluting the planet, according to a new UN report. In late July 2020, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the Senate and categorically mentioned U.S. critical minerals directly in an effort to bring mainstream attention to the growing problem of critical mineral foreign dependence. https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063641625
Recovering Gold, Silver, Copper + U.S. Critical Minerals
Itronics has developed proprietary breakthrough energy saving furnace refining technology to reclaim precious metals from discarded printed circuit boards, including gold, silver, and copper. This breakthrough technology also recovers several U.S. critical minerals, tin, antimony, and palladium. Itronics is also developing technology to recover the critical minerals manganese and potassium. There are currently 35 minerals deemed critical to the nation’s National Security.
To begin its breakthrough process, Itronics first reclaims silver from silver-bearing liquid photographic waste. The reclaimed silver exhibits a special chemical makeup that enables it to soak-up metals from printed circuit boards during furnace refining, effectively acting like a sponge to the metals. Other smelters use copper to reclaim metals from circuit boards during furnace refining, however this results in a less efficient, less environmentally friendly process. Once Itronics’ process is complete, the reclaimed metals then become ingredients in the company’s bullion. This bullion is then sold to refiners for further refining.
Underpinning this breakthrough technology is a significant energy savings during the furnace refining process. In 2016 Itronics won an award from NV Energy, a Nevada public power company, for reducing furnace power consumption by 50 percent. As a result, Itronics offers a solution to circuit board refining that not only saves energy, but also results in a 100 percent beneficial use outcome.
A novel aspect of this breakthrough technology is that the Company uses the measured composition of several different raw materials, including e-scrap, plus fluxes to formulate and produce a new chemical composition of glass. This glass rejects all of the base and precious metals recovered from the e-scrap into the silver bullion, except for a very small amount of silver and copper which remains in the silver-copper glass produced by the process. In terms of operations, the new process is a glass manufacturing operation that produces silver bullion as a by-product. In terms of value, the silver bullion is the main value and the glass is a byproduct value. Presently the glass is being sold to copper smelters which use the glass as a flux. The smelters recover the residual silver and copper and pay Itronics for a percentage of the silver, making this a valuable commercial byproduct. With the sale of the silver bullion and the silver-copper bearing glass, the breakthrough e-scrap refining process is a “Zero Waste Energy Saving” technology.
Transition to the Future
Historically Itronics has recovered silver from silver-bearing liquid photographic waste, a waste-stream that is drastically shrinking because of advancements in digital photographic technology. These advancements have made this waste-stream all but obsolete. Knowing this trend, and planning for the future, Itronics is currently in the process of transitioning away from silver-bearing liquid photographic waste. In its place, Itronics will manufacture a proprietary formulation comprised of 100 percent virgin ingredients; this new chemistry is based on more than 30 years of experience with similar fluids manufactured from spent photographic liquids. The transition to virgin chemistry has several key benefits: 1) It has relieved existing GOLD’n GRO Fertilizer customers concerns about future availability, and it ensures that supply of Rock Kleen liquids will be adequate to meet the needs of the silver/gold mining industry; 2) the chemistry and formulation is based on a cleantech materials philosophy; 3) there is virtually an unlimited supply; and 4) it improves the environment.
Itronics is planning to replace silver recovered from spent photographic liquids with silver recovered by its Rock Kleen Technology, which is now in development. The Rock Kleen Technology produces silver that is in the same chemical form as the silver recovered from the spent photographic liquids. Once operational, the Company expects the Rock Kleen Technology projects to produce increasing amounts of silver as new tailing processing operations are established and that this silver availability will make large scale commercial refining of e-scrap and large scale expansion possible for the indefinite future. Rising silver and gold prices are expected to significantly improve long term profitability of the Rock Kleen tailings processing operations and the breakthrough e-scrap refining as well.
Itronics U.S. Critical Mineral Recovery Initiative
Itronics also recovers tin, antimony, and palladium from discarded printed circuit boards. Tin is traditionally used as ‘solder’ in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. Antimony is a fire-retardant mineral used to make circuit boards fireproof. Palladium is a Platinum Group Metal (PGM) and is used in capacitors found on printed circuit boards.
According to the U.S. Department of Interior, there is no mine production of tin in the United States; all new tin required by the U.S. economy is imported. Tin recovered in the U.S. is done by recycling tin scrap from various sources, except for printed circuit boards. In order of importance, the countries that supply tin to the United States are Indonesia, Peru, Malaysia, Bolivia, and Brazil. Tin is also on the list of 35 minerals deemed critical to the U.S. National Security and the Economy, published by the U.S. Department of Interior on May 18, 2018.
After furnace refining by Itronics, 100 percent of the tin is recovered (in significant amounts), and 100 percent of the palladium and antimony are recovered, (currently in much smaller amounts); once Itronics’ plant moves from its pilot scale operation, economies-of-scale will enable recovery of economically meaningful amounts of antimony and palladium.
Tin, Antimony, Palladium; By the Numbers
- Tin – The leading producers of tin is China (29.7%), Indonesia (26.5%), and Burma (15%). There is no U.S. production. Looking at recovery as a percentage of U.S. apparent consumption, 25%, or 12,300 tons, were recovered from tin bearing scrap, except for printed circuit boards.
- Antimony – China leads the world in reserves in seven critical minerals, which includes antimony (32%). There is relatively little U.S. production; the majority of U.S. supply is from secondary sources. The United States has only about 4% of global reserves. Reserve leaders after China are Russia (23%) and Bolivia (21%)
- Palladium – Palladium production of 225,000 kg is split between two major producers – South Africa (39%) and Russia (38%). There is currently a small amount of U.S. production. The United States is 38% import reliant on palladium.
U.S. Critical Mineral Dependence
The United States’ foreign mineral dependence has increased significantly in recent years. In 2018, the U.S. imported at least 50 percent of its supply of 48 mineral commodities, including 100 percent of 18 of them. U.S. mineral security has become a frontline issue as domestic vulnerabilities to foreign supply restrictions are increasingly recognized as a rising threat to the U.S. economy, competitiveness, and national security. At stake is the United States’ ability to maintain a robust manufacturing sector and lead on the development of emerging technologies. https://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2019/6/murkowski-welcomes-administration-strategy-on-critical-minerals.
The long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including U.S. critical metals tin, palladium, antimony (and manganese and potassium, using different proprietary technologies) using the Company’s breakthrough hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy technologies. Additionally, as resources become scarcer over time, Itronics will also be strategically positioned to benefit if the U.S. offered incentives to increase domestic production of these critical minerals. For many critical metals, little-to-no recycling takes place in the United States because it is either economically or technically not viable to do so. Because of this, the U.S. capacity for secondary recovery of metals has not grown much between 1997 and 2016. Itronics directly addresses these issues by removing both economic and technical barriers by using its energy saving zero waste technologies, making recovery environmentally, economically, and technically viable.
Itronics breakthrough proprietary process allows the whole printed circuit board to be utilized; precious metals, base metals and energy are recovered, toxic chemicals are removed, and the outcome is 100 percent beneficial use resulting in environmental improvement. As the amount of e-waste continues to grow globally, the need to process electronic waste safely, with the environment in mind, grows ever more important.
Itronics Inc. is an emerging Clean Tech Materials Growth Company that produces GOLD’n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilizers and Silver. The Company is also an emerging “Critical Minerals” producer. The Company’s growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019 to $113 million in 2025.
Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Itronics Inc. is a “Creative Clean Technology” Company which produces GOLD’n GRO Multi-Nutrient liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver-bearing glass. The Company’s goal is to achieve profitable clean technology driven organic growth in specialty GOLD’n GRO Multi-Nutrient fertilizers, silver, copper, tin, zinc, and minerals. The Company’s technologies maximize the recovery and uses of metals and minerals and by doing this maximize sustainability.
The Company’s environmentally friendly award winning GOLD’n GRO Multi-Nutrient liquid fertilizers, which are extensively used in agriculture, can be used for lawns and houseplants, and are available at the Company’s “e-store” on Amazon.Com at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_sr_lawn-garden?ie+UTF8&field-brandtextbin=GOLD%27n+GRO&node+2972638011. Due to expanded retail customer interest, GOLD’n GRO fertilizer may now be purchased in Reno, Nevada at “Buy Nevada First Gift Shop”, 4001 S. Virginia St.
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(“Safe Harbor” Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This press release contains or may contain forward-looking statements such as statements regarding the Company’s growth and profitability, growth strategy, liquidity and access to public markets, operating expense reduction, and trends in the industry in which the Company operates. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are also subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those more fully described in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in risks, uncertainties or assumptions underlying or affecting such statements, or for prospective events that may have a retroactive effect.)