The company behind a new gold extraction process, which was developed by Curtin University, is hitting the global market following the sale of company Mining and Process Solutions (MPS).
MPS, who was the overall 2019 WA Innovator of the Year, worked with Curtin to commercialise the technology that extracts minerals such as gold, copper, cobalt and nickel through the use of amino acids such as glycine to leach ores.
MPS also took the top spot in a worldwide cleantech competition last year.
The glycline leaching technologies had been exclusively licenced by Curtin to MPS back in 2017. This was then on-licensed to mining companies for payment, a proportion of which would go to Curtin in the form of a royalty.
MPS shareholders sold 100% of the company to Czech multinational chemical supplier Draslovka. As part of the deal, Curtin has terminated its licence agreement and assigned its intellectual ownership to MPS before briefly becoming a shareholder.
Rohan McDougall, Curtin University Director of Commercialisation, said it was pleasing to see the new innovative technology receive the necessary funding to boost to take it to market.
“Curtin researchers spent years developing this improved leaching process, expanding the technology’s applications and making it more efficient for extracting gold and other valuable deposits,” Mr McDougall said.
“Now that it has made it to the global market, this technology will offer many benefits to resource industries, including being a much more efficient, safe and environmentally-friendly extraction method.
Curtin University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Professor Chris Moran added the achievement was thanks to the successful commercialisation of the technology backed by the high calibre of real-world focused research.
“Leaching or separating gold and other precious metals from an ore deposit or other materials has long depended on cyanide as a key ingredient, which is a highly toxic chemical compound, which when mishandled can have a harmful effect on the environment and our health,” Professor Moran said.
“Curtin researchers developed a glycine leaching technology, which they have optimised to enable extraction of a range of base metals including critical battery minerals nickel and cobalt for renewable energy storage.
“That this research has translated into a fully commercialised and highly-prized technology now on the global market and set to bring benefits to industries around the world is exactly the kind of ‘big picture’ ambition frequently realised at Curtin.”
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