Hexagon recently changed its name to reflect its strategy of developing an energy-materials business, focused on the North American market, employing a fast-track to cash-flow strategy and initially based on graphite and rare-earth elements.
This strategy was premised on three key insights;
- Short-term cash generation is a core focus
- Minerals processing is a higher margin, lower risk business than minerals exploration and mining
- It’s the right place and time to develop ‘energy materials’ processing business in North America
With China processing over 85% of the global supply of REE and controlling 100% of global graphite battery anode production, there is a clear and strategic need to create greater supply chain diversity and transparency in the global energy materials processing sector. This has become an issue of strategic significance to the United States government.
In 2019 Hexagon recognised a unique opportunity to joint venture with private Canadian company, Innovation Metals Corp (IMC) to commercialise its RapidSXTM approach to REE separation. IMC is the developer of the Rapid SX™ process, which is faster, cheaper and less capital intensive than traditional Solvent Extraction (SX) technology used in China, and responsible for over 95% of global REE separation.
Rapid SX™ has the potential to ensure more diversity of global REE supply, to make previously uneconomic energy materials projects more commercially viable and create greater market transparency for global energy materials customers.
Hexagon’s business strategy is to develop a North American-based business, through a jointly owned subsidiary, focused on commercialising the Rapid SX ™ technology and generating a fast-track to cash flow.
The first step is to complete the development of the Commercial Demonstration Plant (CDP) in North America so that it is available for potential clients to test on their REE materials. The CDP is planned to be available in Q3 2020.