Itronics Welcomes Inclusion of Tin, Antimony, and Platinum Group Metals on U.S. Critical Minerals List

RENO, Nev., June 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Itronics Inc. (OTC:ITRO), a diversified producer of GOLD’n GRO zinc fertilizers and silver products and a green technology development Company, today reported that the final 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 includes three metals being recovered by Itronics breakthrough technology E-Waste (computer waste) recycling pilot plant in Reno, Nevada.  These three metals are tin, antimony, and palladium in the order of quantities being recovered.

Itronics had previously announced that its technology recovers all of the copper, tin, silver, gold, and palladium (palladium is a Platinum Group Metal, PGM) carried on the discarded circuit boards being refined.  The technology also recovers all of the antimony, which is a fire retardant mineral that is used to make the circuit boards fireproof.  These metals are contained in the Company’s silver bullion which is sold to a finish refiner for separation and sale.  The Company does not presently get paid for the tin and antimony contained in the bullion, but continues to seek a refiner who can economically separate and pay for these metals.

The Company has determined that the tin content of the e-scrap is worth almost as much or more than copper that is extracted from the circuit boards.  However, a global market study performed by the Company has indicated that the refining technology needed to economically separate the tin from the other metals in the bullion may not presently exist.  The Company has also learned that most of the e-scrap refining that is performed globally is done by large copper smelters.  The copper smelting technology does not recover the tin, but loses most of it in the smelting slag.  Because of this, a large percentage of the tin used in solder on the circuit boards world-wide is not being recovered for re-use.

Itronics President, Dr. John Whitney stated, “Our recovery of all of the tin contained on the circuit boards positions the Company to be a world leader in tin recovery from e-scrap, a technology advancement of global importance.  It also positions Itronics to be the first domestic e-scrap refiner to recover tin and antimony from e-scrap, making Itronics an emerging domestic 'critical minerals' producer."

The list of critical minerals was published in response to a White House Executive Order issued on December 20, 2017 for the purpose of reducing the United States dependency on imports of critical minerals.  Under the Executive Order, a “critical mineral” is defined as “a non-fuel mineral or mineral material that is essential to the economic and national security of the United States, that has a supply chain vulnerable to disruption, and that serves an essential function in the manufacturing of a product, the absence of which would have significant consequences for the economy or national security."

According to the U.S. Department of Interior, there is no domestic mine production of tin in the United States.  All of the new tin that is required by the U.S. economy is imported.  The most important foreign countries, in order of importance, that supply tin to the United States are Indonesia, Peru, Malaysia, Bolivia, and Brazil.

The U.S. Department of Commerce will use the list for a report, to be issued in August that responds to the December Executive Order to break the U.S. dependence on foreign minerals.  The report will include an assessment of progress toward developing domestic recycling and reprocessing technologies and a strategy to reduce U.S. reliance on critical minerals.  

Itronics has performed laboratory testing which indicates that the copper and tin may be separated from the other metals contained in the bullion.  The Company plans to pursue development of this new metal separation technology in the future.  The long term plan is to become a producer of high purity metals, including the strategic metals tin and antimony, using the Company’s hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy technologies.  Itronics may benefit if the U.S. Government decides to provide incentives to increase domestic production of “critical minerals,” including tin, antimony, and palladium.

Itronics is now operating its breakthrough e-scrap refining technology, which processes circuit boards extracted from e-waste, on a pilot scale at its manufacturing plant in Reno, Nevada.  The circuit boards are converted into silver bullion and silver-bearing glass which are sold, completely eliminating the waste from the environment by converting it to commercial products.  The Company plans to expand the refining capacity in stages over the next three years to a much larger scale.  Longer term, the Company plans to build an even larger e-scrap refining facility at the 48 acre, 54,000 square foot Wabuska Manufacturing site in northern Nevada, which it is acquiring.

Itronics has pioneered the development of value-added hazardous waste recycling that converts demetallized liquid photochemical waste into silver bullion and a liquid ingredient used to manufacture the line of high quality GOLD’n GRO liquid fertilizers, said Dr. Whitney.  “Itronics is now pioneering and has achieved operational proof of concept for its second 'Zero Waste' technology, the breakthrough e-scrap refining technology which is now being operated at a pilot scale."

About Itronics
Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Itronics Inc. is a “Creative Green Technology” Company which produces GOLD’n GRO specialty liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver-bearing glass. The Company’s goal is to achieve profitable green technology driven organic growth in specialty GOLD’n GRO fertilizers, silver, zinc, and minerals.  The Company’s technologies maximize the recovery and uses of metals and minerals and by doing this maximize sustainability.

Through its subsidiary, Itronics Metallurgical, Inc., Itronics is the only company with a fully permitted “Beneficial Use Photochemical, Silver, and Water Recycling” plant in the United States that converts 100 percent of the spent photoliquids into GOLD’n GRO liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver bearing glass. This is internationally recognized award winning “Zero Waste” Technology.  The Company is developing a portfolio of environmentally beneficial “Zero waste” processing and mining technologies.  Itronics has received numerous domestic and international awards that recognize its ability to successfully use chemical science and engineering to create and implement new environmentally green recycling and fertilizer technologies.

The Company's environmentally friendly award winning GOLD'n GRO 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. Due to expanded retail customer interest, GOLD'n GRO fertilizer may now be purchased in Reno, Nevada at the "Buy Nevada First Gift Shop" at 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.)

Paul Knopick