IperionX Receives Interest from US Federal Bank EXIM for Titanium 3D Printing Powder

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Titanium, a metal prized for its strength, corrosion resistance, and high-temperature resilience, has traditionally had complex and carbon-intensive supply chains. Enter IperionX (Nasdaq: IPX), an American company aiming to bring a new approach to the titanium industry. IperionX has embarked on a mission to produce high-performance, sustainable, low-cost titanium metal products. Preparing to launch a facility in Virginia dedicated to producing spherical titanium metal powder, a vital component for advanced 3D printing applications, its approach to titanium production sets it apart.

IperionX titanium metal production facility in Virginia. IperionX titanium metal production facility in Virginia. Image courtesy of IperionX.

Building on its momentum, the American company has now secured an agreement for a provisional sum of $11.5 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). As the official export credit agency of the U.S. federal government, EXIM plays a crucial role. It supports and finances the export of U.S. goods and services to global markets. In this context, the bank has shown a preliminary interest in financing IperionX’s project through a letter of intent (LOI) with a tentative amount of $11.5 million. If the deal goes through, IperionX will have seven years to repay this loan.

This funding will support the development of IperionX’s Titanium Production Facility in Halifax County, Virginia. More specifically, IperionX will allocate the cash towards key production assets. These include industrial furnaces and comminution equipment, like crushers, grinding mills, or high-pressure grinding rolls. Additionally, EXIM informed IperionX that its proposed Titanium Production Facility might qualify for equipment finance under the “China and Transformational Exports Program” and the “Make More in America Initiative.” These initiatives by EXIM aim to counteract the dominance of China in strategic sectors and promote export-oriented domestic projects.

IperionX is currently producing 100% recycled titanium metal powder from titanium scrap feedstock in Utah. Image courtesy of IperionX.

IperionX Co-Founder and CEO Anastasios (Taso) Arima says “Titanium for the U.S. manufacturing sector is currently sourced over long distances from foreign nations. We are pleased to receive the letter of interest for the provisional sum of US$11.5 million in equipment finance from US EXIM that will assist IperionX to re-shore a lower-cost, more sustainable and fully integrated U.S. titanium supply chain that is critical both for the manufacturing of advanced goods as well as for America’s national security.”

Supply chain shift

From its inception in 2020, IperionX has set out to disrupt the titanium industry. With over 70% of the global titanium supply coming from countries like China and Russia, the need for diversification is evident. As geopolitical tensions and sustainability concerns rise, diversifying the supply chain becomes critical. This is especially true for industries ranging from defense to consumer electronics. This challenge is further compounded by the traditional titanium production process. This often generates significant amounts of scrap, leading to waste and inflated costs. On top of these inefficiencies, the carbon emissions associated with the traditional production of titanium make it unsustainable.

IperionX engineers produce 100% recycled titanium metal powder from titanium scrap feedstock in Utah. Image courtesy of IperionX.

At its core, IperionX seeks to build a low-cost and sustainable metal production system today, with plans to integrate minerals production in the future, all within the U.S. This integration plans to use patented titanium metal technologies that employ titanium scrap as a raw material. By spearheading this initiative, IperionX wants to produce 100% recycled titanium products. This fully circular approach is a world first, marking a significant stride in sustainable production. Moreover, the company prides itself on achieving zero scope 1 & 2 greenhouse gas emissions, substantially reducing its carbon footprint.

Another highlight for IperionX is the significant cost reduction associated with its titanium products. It does this by directly connecting its titanium metal production to the titanium minerals from the Titan Project. Already approved for phase 1 development and operations, the Titan Project boasts one of the largest JORC (Joint Ore Reserves Committee code) and SK-1300 titanium mineral resources in the U.S. These standards reflect a high level of legitimacy and reliability in the reported figures and data. Besides, the project is set to provide valuable co-products like rare earth minerals and zircon.

IperionX produces 100% recycled titanium metal powder from titanium scrap feedstock. Image courtesy of IperionX.

Green milestones

Two months ago, Arima celebrated IperionX’s key regulatory pieces, required to build a low cost, low carbon and infinitely recyclable titanium mineral-to-metal supply chain in the country: “When we started on this journey of building a U.S. titanium supply chain in 2020, we knew one of the most important questions was whether it would be possible from a U.S. regulatory perspective. Not only did we know it was possible, we did it in under three years from first exploration activities at the Titan Project. The reason? An amazing team. We have been open and transparent across all of our business and the award of these permits is testament to our culture and approach to the communities where we operate.”

Scrap titanium is transformed into powder and then processed into a final part. Image courtesy of IperionX.

Outside of its traditional forms like plates, bars, and rods, IperionX’s titanium finds applications in high-performance components, especially in advanced 3D printing. IperionX’s spherical titanium metal powder production is crucial for this, serving as a key input for many 3D printers. Beyond just supplying materials, IperionX’s technologies create top-quality products for customers. The company’s recent partnership with GKN Aerospace to test titanium PM components stresses this potential. In another strategic move, IperionX teamed up with Aperam Recycling. Together, they aim to create a 100% recycled titanium supply chain, further cementing their commitment to sustainable production.

With an operational pilot facility in Utah, IperionX has plans to scale its production further. The upcoming Virginia facility is a testament to this, with initial projections hinting at producing 125 tonnes of titanium per year by 2024. It expects this figure to jump to 1,125 tonnes annually by 2025. IperionX’s competitive pricing targeting $72 per kilo initially plans to reduce it to $42 per kilo. This, coupled with partnerships like the one with Ford to supply titanium automotive components, sets them at the forefront of the titanium industry’s sustainable future.

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