TORONTO, May 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Innovation Metals Corp. (“IMC” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the formation of the IMC Technical Advisory Board and associated initial appointments. The Technical Advisory Board is comprised of internationally recognized industry experts and thought leaders, with significant scientific, technical, and market expertise relating to rare-earth elements (“REEs”) and other critical materials.
The Technical Advisory Board will advise and support IMC’s leadership team in making important technical and logistical decisions, as the Company continues to advance the commercialization of IMC’s proprietary RapidSX™ technology, for the economic, commercial-scale separation of both light REEs (“LREEs”) and heavy REEs (“HREEs”).
Technical Advisory Board Appointments
IMC is honoured to announce the following initial expert appointments to the Company’s Technical Advisory Board, effective immediately:
Dr. Gisele Azimi
Dr. Christian Ekberg
Mr. Furkhat Faizulla
Dr. V. I. Lakshmanan
Importantly, the Technical Advisory Board will also provide expert advice and support to further demonstrate and validate IMC’s unique separation technology platform for other critical materials too, including lithium (“Li”), nickel (“Ni”) and cobalt (“Co”).
The Technical Advisory Board will formally meet together with IMC’s Board and Senior Officers on a quarterly basis, and the individual members of the Technical Advisory Board will also be available to IMC between meetings as needed for any additional support and advice.
IMC Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Dr. Gareth Hatch, stated, “The creation of our Technical Advisory Board is an important step in the continued advancement of IMC’s objectives. We are delighted to welcome such highly credentialed appointments in Dr. Azimi, Dr. Ekberg, Mr. Faizulla, and Dr. Lakshmanan during this defining period for IMC. They will support and evaluate our technical development and advise on strategic initiatives for future RapidSX applications, in addition to those for REEs. We are very excited and privileged to benefit from such a complementary, yet diverse group of industry experts to further enhance and advance the commercialization of the RapidSX technology. IMC’s ability to attract talent of this caliber underscores the near-term potential for this much-needed technology.”
IMC Technical Advisory Board Members
Dr. Gisele Azimi, P.Eng.
Dr. Azimi is an associate professor at the University of Toronto, jointly appointed by the Departments of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering. She is a Canada Research Chair in Urban Mining Innovations and is also a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario. Dr. Azimi’s expertise spans the fields of electrochemistry, extractive metallurgy, materials design and fabrication, materials separation and organic/inorganic chemistry. She received her doctorate from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto in 2010. Prior to her University of Toronto faculty appointment in 2014, Dr. Azimi completed two postdoctoral appointments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering respectively.
Dr. Azimi has been recognized by several ‘young researcher’ awards including the Emerging Leaders of Chemical Engineering Award, the McCharles Prize, the CSChE Innovation Award, the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award, the TMS Young Leaders Award, the Spark Professorship, and the Connaught New Researcher Award. She has been recognized for her teaching and mentorship and received the Burgess Teaching Award. Dr. Azimi established and leads the Laboratory for Strategic Materials, a large and successful research group at the University of Toronto, focused on critical materials.
Dr. Azimi’s research interests include sustainability and advanced materials & manufacturing research themes, with a particular emphasis on advanced recycling and urban mining, and valorization of waste streams to produce strategic materials such as REEs. She has also served as an editor of Rare Metal Technology 2018, Rare Metal Technology 2019, Rare Metal Technology 2020, and Rare Metal Technology 2021.
Dr. Christian Ekberg
Dr. Ekberg is a full professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has been Stena’s Chair in Industrial Materials Recycling since 2007 and a full professor in nuclear chemistry since 2012. Dr. Ekberg was previously head of the joint Department of Nuclear Chemistry and Industrial Materials Recycling at Chalmers, and is currently leader of the Energy and Materials Division.
Dr. Ekberg began his research at Chalmers with the modeling of chemical systems, focused on uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, and how uncertainties in chemical-model inputs affect the outputs. He later shifted focus to the experimental determination of stability constants, primarily via solvent extraction. After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (“ANSTO”), Dr. Ekberg returned to Chalmers and became responsible for research on separation and transmutation nuclear chemistry, while also expanding research on thermodynamics and solvent extraction.
More recently, Dr. Ekberg has broadened the focus of his research to include the production and recyclability of novel innovative nuclear fuels. He was instrumental in founding the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Centre (“SNEC”) at Chalmers and was its scientific leader and later director. He founded the national Competence Centre Recycling (“CCR”) in 2007 and was the first director of the National Swedish Academic Initiative for Nuclear Technology (“SAINT”).
Dr. Ekberg has been a member of the International Steering Committee for the International Solvent Extraction Conference (“ISEC”) since 2013. He has refereed papers for more than a dozen international scientific journals, and is a member of various editorial boards, including for the journal Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange.
Dr. Ekberg holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. degree in nuclear chemistry, both from Chalmers. He has published over 250 scientific papers, numerous reports, and has authored or co-authored 10 books or book chapters, including Hydrolysis of Metal Ions and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling: Research, Development, and Policies in 2016 and Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry in 2013. Dr. Ekberg is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (“IVA”) as well as the Royal Society for Arts and Sciences (“KVVS”).
Mr. Furkhat Faizulla
Mr. Faizulla is a founding member of Advanced Material of Japan Corporation (“AMJC”), one of the largest traders of rare metals in Japan. He has more than 20 years of rare-metal trading and marketing experience, specializing in REEs, tungsten and other critical metals. One of Japan’s leading REE trading companies, AMJC specializes in the procurement and sale of REEs and other critical materials, including tungsten and titanium ore concentrates, oxide and metals. As well as heading AMJC’s North America office, Mr. Faizulla is also Managing Director of his own metals-trading company.
Mr. Faizulla was a co-founder of IMC and served as an Independent Director of IMC from the Company’s inception, until its acquisition by Ucore Rare Metals Inc. in May 2020. Fluent in English, Japanese, Chinese and Uzbek, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a master’s degree in International Business from Hiroshima University.
Dr. V. I. ‘Lucky’ Lakshmanan, CEng, FIMMM, FCAE, FCIM
A long-time friend and colleague of IMC since the Company’s inception, Dr. Lakshmanan is the Chief Executive Officer, Vice Chairman and co-Founder of Process Research ORTECH Inc. (“PRO”), based in Mississauga, Ontario. An internationally renowned teacher, scientist and innovator in the areas of hydrometallurgy and sustainable development, Dr. Lakshmanan is a named inventor on multiple patents and has more than 45 years of hands-on experience in technology development and commercialization, with both private and public sector entities. He moved to Canada in 1974, after serving as a lecturer at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He subsequently held prominent positions in Canada’s engineering/technology sector, with companies such as Noranda, Eldorado Nuclear and ORTECH Corporation. He co-founded PRO in Mississauga in 1999 and has guided it to become a global leader in sustainable process technologies.
Dr Lakshmanan has channeled his passion for community service through numerous initiatives, supporting organizations like the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, the Canada India Business Council, TiE Toronto, and IC-IMPACTS. Dr Lakshmanan is a co-founder and Past Chair of the Canada India Foundation, a public-policy organization, where he organized several sectoral Canada-India public policy forums and was instrumental in three visits to Canada by India’s former President, Dr. Abdul Kalam. Inspired by the late Dr Kalam, he has conducted conferences on Smart Villages at the University of Toronto and has sponsored clean drinking-water systems and a mobile hospital in rural India.
Born and educated in India, Dr. Lakshmanan obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Bombay University and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. He has published more than 150 papers and written several books on science, process engineering and public policy. Dr. Lakshmanan co-authored Innovative Process Development in Metallurgical Industry: Concept to Commission in 2016.
Dr Lakshmanan’s contributions to science and community service have earned him numerous awards and honors, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Sherritt Hydrometallurgy Award, the MetSoc Environmental Award, the Sir Joseph Flavelle Award for Technical Innovation, and the Lifetime / Outstanding Achievement Award from the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
About Innovation Metals Corp.
IMC has developed the proprietary RapidSX™ process, for the low-cost separation and purification of rare-earth elements, 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).
About the RapidSX™ Technology
IMC developed the RapidSX separation technology with early-stage assistance from the United States Department of Defense (“US DoD”), later 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.
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 date and/or dates made and are 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.
President and Executive Director