Itronics Inc., a growing and diversified fertilizer, silver, and minerals producer, today announced that it has successfully tested and is now scaling up a new refining process for recovering silver, which reduces cost and increases efficiencies, from the Company's silver-iron-sulfur concentrates that are produced internally by the Company's photoliquid de-silvering process. The new process will be named the "Itromet Silver Refining Process."
"The Company's 'bricks and mortar' technology focus continues to be on maximizing recoveries and on developing uses for all of the product components for various silver-gold bearing materials sourced from manufacturing processes," said Dr. John Whitney, Itronics President. "This is the second breakthrough invention that Itronics has reported this quarter. Our environmental technology goal is to eliminate waste and to maximize the recovery and the beneficial use of raw materials thereby maximizing sustainability. The technology we are announcing today represents another major step in this direction for Itronics."
In a press release issued on December 12, 2013, the Company reported that a new refining process was being tested and that the testing would be followed by scaling up the process in the first quarter of 2014. One level of scale up has been successfully completed and the Company is now proceeding to increase production to full scale in March.
Benefits of the new process are improved first pass recovery, elimination of an intermediate processing step that is now required to achieve full recovery, and a reduction in glass slag production. The process is also able to recover virtually all of the gold that may be present in the feed materials and the process significantly reduces refining cost. Bottom line is a significant improvement in silver refining economics and productivity.
A secondary benefit is that the process will be useable for refining a wider variety of silver-iron-sulfur bearing materials including products from silver-gold mines. Testing on several different feed materials is underway and the new process has been successful in these tests.
The Company continues to investigate potential non-photographic feed streams for its refinery and believes that the new Itromet Silver Refining Process may be useable for recycling silver oxide batteries. The feasibility of establishing and implementing a business plan for silver battery recycling will be investigated in 2014.
In a press release dated August 14, 2013, Itronics updated its plans for applications for silver-gold mines that have a silver to gold ratio exceeding 4 to 1 in the ore. These mines are being referred to as "silver-gold" mines. The Company believes that the new process being announced today may be useable at certain silver-gold mines in the future. The plan being implemented envisions that Itronics' already proven silver recovery technologies and new technologies in development would be modified to fit specific silver-gold mine requirements. Application modifications would be tailored to fit the operational needs of individual mines.
"Development of our 'bricks and mortar' technology assets by the Company makes it possible to capitalize on its intellectual property and technical expertise and to create the opportunity for potentially rapid increases in the value of those assets," said Dr. Whitney. "Improving our silver-gold refining technology is a major development for the Company. We expect this development to create many exciting new business opportunities."