Global Licence Agreement Secured for Flash Joule Heating Technology with Rice University

Flash Joule Heating Process has the potential to disrupt traditional extraction and recovery of critical metals

MTM Critical Metals Limited (ASX:MTM) (MTM or the Company) has executed a licence agreement with Rice University (Rice) to secure the exclusive global rights to Flash Joule Heating (FJH) technology for the processing of a broad range of materials. The license agreement gives MTM the right to the proprietary technology under the associated patents for recovery of rare earth elements (REE) and other critical metals and metallic compounds from industrial waste (including coal fly ash and bauxite residue), ores, electronic waste (e-Waste) and end-of-life batteries. Rice will receive consideration comprising of fees, royalties (based on revenue generated directly from the license) and milestone development payments, as well as an equity payment in the form of unlisted options.


  • MTM has secured the exclusive global rights to the patented Flash Joule Heating (FJH) technology for use in the recovery of Rare Earth Elements (REE), Critical Metals, and Metallic Compounds from Ores, Industrial Wastes, E-scrap, Batteries and a broad range of high intrinsic value raw materials, as developed by Dr. James Tour and his team at the prestigious Rice University in Houston, Texas.
  • The licensed technology has the potential to disrupt traditional treatment processes for a range of materials which could significantly enhance recovery rates and the economics of metal extraction.
  • The collaboration between Rice University and the Company remains ongoing with enhancements to the existing technology available to MTM as part of the license agreement.
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  • The Company will engage with government agencies, targeting critical minerals extraction efficiencies, to help secure supply and reduce reliance on imported materials and technology from non-aligned nations.
  • Testing and prototype optimisation continues to progress well with Knighthawk Engineering in Houston.
  • Testing of sample mineral concentrates from the Company’s REE projects is being progressed.
  • Testing of third party mineral concentrates (including spodumene) using the FJH technology to compare recoveries with traditional methods is under way.

MTM Chairman, Mr John Hannaford said: “Signing of the license agreement with Rice University for exclusive worldwide rights to develop and utilise the FJH technology is a significant milestone for the Company. It provides the foundation for MTM to scale the commercialisation of a world-leading REE extraction process. The licence also provides for the continued development of the existing flash joule heating technology for use 2 in additional applications. The Company can now progress several non-dilutive funding opportunities for the FJH technology, including potential government grants and collaborations with commercial partners who could benefit from integrating the technology in their existing processes. Our priority is to identify the highest-value applications to generate commercial opportunities, including using the technology on our own mineral assets in Australia and Canada.”

Flash Metals USA President, Mr Steve Ragiel said: “We are very pleased to have worked with Dr James Tour and the Rice University team to finalise this global licence agreement as there is real need for this type of innovation. The mining sector is looking for ways to optimise resource recovery rates, reduce the use of chemical and waste and improve its ESG credentials in tangible ways – and FJH has the potential to addresses all these areas based on testing at bench scale. FJH can dramatically increase the leaching recovery of metals from waste materials that are otherwise very difficult to treat while using lower volumes of acid than traditional methods1 . Applications will include REE and other critical metals and metallic compounds from industrial waste such as coal fly ash and bauxite residue, ores, electric waste (e-Waste) and end-of-life batteries. MTM is commencing commercialisation of the FJH technology with a focus on defining the best opportunities for scaling the technology through sub-licensing and technology transfer agreements.”

The Opportunity for FJH

Successful laboratory and prototype testing (refer MTM ASX release 6 May 2024) of the FJH technology has provided MTM confidence that, when commercialised, the FJH technology could disrupt the existing extraction processes for REE’s and other minerals with the potential for higher recovery rates, lower costs and more efficient flow sheets for metal extraction. The collaboration between Rice and MTM in this field will be ongoing and enhancements in the technology by Rice are likely to flow through to MTM which will add to the capabilities of the processes that are being commercialised.

Flash Joule Heating (FJH) technology offers several commercial opportunities in the extraction of metals due to its potential efficiency, cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits. MTM will pursue a range of work streams to:

  • Progress the scaling up of the pilot plant to handle increased volume of feed stock;
  • Identify the highest value feed stock supplies in terms of metal concentrations, availability and extraction effectiveness using the FJH technology to deliver the highest returns and determine where economic deposits of this material are located;
  • Secure funding for commercial scale prototype processing plant development that will result in the supply of critical minerals from recycled material and mineral ores that are susceptible to supply constraints to the USA and its allies;
  • Continue early-stage negotiations with a number of commercial and government agencies to secure agreements that will deliver near term value from the technology licensing;
  • Identify commercialisation opportunities with corporate partners and customers through sub-licensing and royalty arrangements from the technology being used to process waste material e.g.: coal fly ash or bauxite residue (red mud) deposits, e-waste and battery recycling;
  • Pursue commercialisation opportunities in the mineral recycling sector (inquiries are already being followed up with potential corporate and government parties in USA and Australia).

Click here for the full ASX Release

This article includes content from MTM Critical Metals Limited, licensed for the purpose of publishing on Investing News Australia. This article does not constitute financial product advice. It is your responsibility to perform proper due diligence before acting upon any information provided here. Please refer to our full disclaimer here.


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