IperionX Ltd, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, has scaled titanium metal powder production at its Titanium Pilot Facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, utilising 100% recycled titanium as feedstock to meet reported customer demands surrounding sustainability. The company has stated that it is accelerating its plans to build a new Titanium Demonstration Facility (TDF), with an initial target capacity of around 125 tonnes per annum.
The current run rate capacity of the Titanium Pilot Facility is some 1.5 tonnes per annum. Additional process improvements, expected to be commissioned in the coming weeks, will raise the run rate capacity to around 6.5 tonnes per annum by the end of Q2 2022. The Titanium Pilot Facility is said to be limited by the operational run rate of the currently installed low-temperature furnace, which undertakes IperionX’s proprietary HAMR deoxygenation process.
IperionX’s new Titanium Demonstration Facility, with a potential output capacity of around 125 tonnes per annum, will be completed by the end of 2022. This facility is expected to utilise low cost 100% titanium metal scrap as the feedstock for low carbon production of titanium metal powders. The primary driver of increased capacity is the planned acquisition of a larger off-the-shelf low-temperature furnace that will undertake the proprietary HAMR process.
This TDF is intended to act as a test bed for automation and process improvements to optimise operations prior to scaling to a Titanium Commercial Facility (TCF). Additionally, the facility will be used for the development of other metal technologies, including low-carbon REE metal deoxygenation, hydrogen sintering, low carbon synthetic rutile and improved mineral-to-metal reduction processes.
“As a result of the successful scaling of the Titanium Pilot Facility – and the strong interest we are seeing from potential customers for our 100% recycled, lower cost and low carbon powders – we are now progressing the development of a larger scale facility,” stated Anastasios Arima, Managing Director and CEO. “This comes at a time when there is an increased strategic focus on the need for wrestling control of the titanium supply chain from China and Russia and bring it back to the US.”
IperionX stated that commercial discussions with a wide range of potential customers across many advanced technology sectors, including those utilising Additive Manufacturing and from the automotive, consumer electronics, consumer luxury goods and defence sectors, with significant interest in the potential long-term supply of titanium metal powders.
The company is currently in the scoping stages of evaluating the size, location and timing of the first TCF that will produce low-carbon titanium metal and titanium metal powders in the United States. It plans to evaluate a range of titanium plant capacity options, as IperionX moves towards its aim of being a titanium metal producer of over 10,000 tonnes per annum in five years.
Arima concluded, “We intend to help re-build a U.S. supply chain using a closed loop, low carbon and lower cost solution… from scrap to powder to parts, for a sustainable titanium supply chain.”