IperionX receives federal funding for domestic titanium production

IperionX's titanium production facility, Virginia. Photo: Business Wire

IperionX announces that the U.S. Department of Defense (U.S. DoD) has advised that it has contracted to award IperionX US$12.7 million in funding awarded under the Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III authorities to address U.S. titanium supply chain vulnerabilities.

The combination of the non-dilutive US$12.7 million U.S. DoD grant and the potential for a further US$11.5 million in equipment financing under the previously announced Export-Import Bank of the United States (“EXIM Bank”) initiatives provide an outstanding platform for IperionX to accelerate the re-shoring of U.S. domestic titanium production through the development of its titanium production facility in Halifax County, Virginia.

The U.S. DoD has undertaken extensive due diligence of IperionX’s titanium metal technologies through the application and contracting process, including U.S. DoD representatives undertaking a site visit to IperionX’s operating pilot plant in Utah.

The United States has limited domestic primary titanium metal (titanium sponge) capacity and currently imports over 95% of the titanium sponge required for the U.S. defense sector. IperionX intends to re-shore a full titanium supply chain to the U.S. to reduce the acute reliance on titanium imports from foreign nations and strengthen the titanium supply chain for critical defense and advanced industries.

IperionX will apply the US$12.7 million U.S. DoD grant funding towards building a 125 metric tons per annum titanium production facility in Halifax County, Virginia, with first production expected in 2024. Once commissioned, IperionX intends to rapidly scale the capacity of this advanced titanium production facility – in a modular development approach – to 1,125 metric tons per annum on the same site in Virginia.

Titanium has been mass produced in the same way since the 1940s when the existing ‘Kroll Process’ was developed. The Kroll Process is energy intensive, high cost and produces high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, IperionX’s titanium production technologies use less energy to produce high-strength titanium, at lower costs, with zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

Titanium is prized for its high strength-to-weight ratio, resistance to high temperatures and corrosion. Titanium is a critical material for many U.S. defense systems and for a range of demanding applications in the aerospace, space, medical, consumer electronics, additive manufacturing, hydrogen and automotive sectors.

IperionX has the potential to deliver a full U.S. titanium supply chain from titanium mineral production to the manufacturing of high performance titanium products, and the unique ability to use 100% recycled scrap titanium. IperionX can produce a wide range of titanium products – including titanium powder, ingots, bars, and plate – at higher energy efficiency, lower costs, and with lower environmental impacts.

The US$12.7 million U.S. DoD grant will be matched on a 1:1 cost share basis by IperionX, for a total funding amount of ~US$25 million.

Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy said:

“Titanium is critical to the basic Warfighting capability of the United States. Domestic titanium production is a top priority for the DoD’s industrial base programs.”

Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX CEO said:

“Titanium for the U.S. defense sector is currently sourced over long distances from foreign nations. We are pleased to receive this award from the U.S. DoD that will assist IperionX to re-shore a lower-cost, more sustainable and fully integrated U.S. titanium supply chain that is critical to America’s national security.”