Innovation Metals Corp. Provides Development Update on RapidSX™ Technology for Near-Term Commercial Rare-Earth Elements Separation in USA

TORONTO, Feb. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Innovation Metals Corp. (“IMC” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide the following update regarding the Company’s ongoing commercialization development program for IMC’s RapidSX™ technology, at the RapidSX Commercialization and Development Facility (“CDF”) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

IMC's proprietary RapidSX technology is being commercialized for the cost-effective bulk separation and purification of rare-earth elements (“REEs”) — including both heavy REE (“HREEs”) and light REEs (“LREEs”) — for the production of REE oxides (“REOs”), in addition to other critical metals, such as lithium (“Li”), nickel (“Ni”), and cobalt (“Co”) for lithium-ion battery materials.

Commissioning of the RapidSX demonstration-scale pilot plant (“RapidSX Demonstration Plant”) is scheduled to start in Q3 2021. A comprehensive, independent techno-economic study and the design of a commercial-scale REE separation facility are planned for completion in Q1 2022. IMC anticipates that RapidSX will be ready for commercial adoption and implementation by IMC’s customers via revenue-producing licensing agreements within 15 months (Q1 2022).

IMC President Tyler Dinwoodie stated, “The outlook and opportunity have never been stronger, and we firmly believe RapidSX holds the near-term potential to be a disruptive technology and a critical component in achieving domestic commercial REE production.”

“With the successful commissioning and operation of the RapidSX Demonstration Plant, IMC intends to demonstrate the potentially significant CAPEX and OPEX efficiencies with RapidSX compared to conventional solvent-extraction-based REE separation technologies, while maintaining the same or higher technical and QA/QC standards. More than ever before, a secure, complete domestic rare-earth supply chain can be realized quickly and cost effectively — from existing and near-term REE concentrate producers,” said Mr. Dinwoodie.

RapidSX REE Development Program
As announced on October 2, 2020, the RapidSX commercialization development program is being led by IMC CEO, Chairman, co-founder, and co-inventor of the RapidSX technology, Dr. Gareth Hatch and IMC COO and VP, Metallurgy, Dr. Kurt Forrester, in conjunction with Dr. Boyd Davis and Mr. Alain Roy, Principals of Kingston Process Metallurgy (“KPM”), supported by additional technical expertise and partners engaged by IMC for the program. As announced on June 23, 2020, KPM is IMC’s laboratory partner and has been supporting all aspects of IMC’s technical work to commence the optimization and commercialization program to scale up the RapidSX technology.

RapidSX REE Development Update

  1. RapidSX Test Program Agreements with Multiple US-Allied REE Producers
    The response by potential end users/licensees of the RapidSX technology for commercial REE separation has been excellent. IMC is in numerous advanced-stage negotiations for RapidSX Technology Testing Agreements (“TTAs”) with current and near-term REE producers in US-allied jurisdictions, to utilize RapidSX for the separation of specific end-user mixed REE concentrates (“MRECs”). IMC looks forward to providing further updates on executed TTAs in Q1 2021.

  2. US-Allied-Sourced REE Feedstocks
    IMC has been actively evaluating various commercially available US-allied-sourced LREE and HREE MRECs to develop a comprehensive dataset that will demonstrate the versatility of the RapidSX technology for REE separation. The evaluation process will lead to the final selection of one such MREC to serve as the initial REE feedstock for the forthcoming RapidSX Demonstration Plant. IMC expects to provide further updates on the MREC feedstock options being explored in Q1 2021.

  3. Completion of the RapidSX Research Platform
    IMC is pleased to announce the completion and successful commissioning of the new multi-column RapidSX Research Platform. Aside from demonstrating and validating the underlying technical capability and efficiencies of the RapidSX technology, the RapidSX Research Platform will be utilized for quantitative characterization and design optimization of the physical RapidSX hardware, independent of the chemistry of the separation applications. Additionally, the RapidSX Research Platform will aid in the characterization of process kinetics, as well as pH and equilibrium isotherms, and other critical parameters for various REE feedstocks. The RapidSX Research Platform will serve as the foundation for the initial design of large-scale proprietary contactors for the forthcoming RapidSX Demonstration Plant.

  4. Engagement of Process Modeling Software Partner
    In Q4 2020, IMC engaged an industry-leading process-modeling software provider for the development of IMC’s mathematical process-modeling tool (“Modeling Tool”). The state-of-the-art Modeling Tool will combine empirical results and datasets from the RapidSX Research Platform and other sources, with the thermodynamic and other mathematical equations required to effectively model solvent-extraction-based applications using the RapidSX technology. Once finalized, the Modeling Tool will provide IMC with the unique ability to rapidly test and to simulate large numbers of different test conditions, to determine the optimum RapidSX-based flowsheet parameters and equipment configurations for particular REE and other feeds, at commercial scale.

IMC looks forward to providing further updates on the commercialization of the RapidSX technology for the separation of HREEs and LREEs in the coming months.

About Innovation Metals Corp.
IMC has developed the proprietary RapidSX™ process, for the low-cost separation and purification of REEs, Ni, Co, Li and other technology metals, via an accelerated form of solvent extraction. IMC is commercializing this approach for a number of metals, to help enable mining and metal-recycling companies to compete in today's global marketplace. IMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ucore Rare Metals Inc. (TSXV:UCU) (OTCQX:UURAF).

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About the RapidSX™ Technology
IMC developed the RapidSX separation technology with the assistance of US$1.8 million in funding from the United States Department of Defense (“US DoD”), resulting in the production of commercial-grade, separated rare-earth oxides (“REOs”) at the pilot scale. RapidSX combines the time-proven chemistry of conventional solvent extraction (“SX”) with a new column-based platform, which significantly reduces time to completion and plant footprint, as well as potentially lowering capital and operating costs. SX is the international rare-earth element (“REE”) industry's standard commercial separation technology and is currently used by 100% of all REE producers worldwide for bulk commercial separation of both heavy and light REEs. Utilizing similar chemistry to conventional SX, RapidSX is not a “new” technology, but represents a significant improvement on the well-established, well-understood, proven conventional SX separation technology preferred by REE producers.

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains projections and statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable Canadian, United States and other laws. Forward-looking statements in this release may include, among others, statements regarding the future plans, costs, objectives or performance of Innovation Metals Corp. (“IMC”), or the assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. In this news release, words such as “may”, “could”, “would”, “will”, “likely”, “believe”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “plan”, “goal”, “estimate” and similar words and the negative forms thereof are used to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are beyond IMC's control, and which may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of IMC to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties could cause actual results and IMC’s plans and objectives to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking information. IMC can offer no assurance that its plans will be completed. These and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking information are based on estimates and opinions of management on the dates they are made and expressly qualified in their entirety by this notice. Except as required by law, IMC assumes no obligation to update forward-looking information should circumstances or management’s estimates or opinions change.

Tyler Dinwoodie
President and Executive Director
Innovation Metals Corp.
+1 416 218 2006