Metalysis has a commercially proven electrolytic technology which can reduce metal oxides and ores into pure metals and alloys
Our process operates at lower temperature and lower energy consumption than traditional melting technologies because reduction takes place in the solid-state. It requires inexpensive components and generates no toxic by-products. Pre-alloyed or ore feedstock may be used directly because it is a ‘powder in, powder out’ process, too.
Metals are constrained by their melting points and densities. In conventional melting technology, this renders some compositions obsolete; but Metalysis’ process is able to generate metal powders, in-demand alloy powders and completely new alloys, in some cases historically considered impossible.
Metalysis has also developed innovations in upstream technology to reduce waste at the mine site, through its subsidiary, Gravity Mining Ltd., and through to oxide refining using its proprietary wet chemistry and solvent extraction process in its facility in Gostivar, North Macedonia.
From mine to metal, Metalysis possesses unique and patented technology to develop the environmentally cleaner products of tomorrow.
Metalysis’ solid-state process can produce many periodic table metals and commercially attractive known alloys. It also provides the opportunity to produce for a vast number of new alloys previously considered too difficult to create, or too costly, in spite of their potentially revolutionary applications. This includes high entropy alloys, which are a particular area of commercial R&D focus for the company and may be produced according to market demand.
Metalysis’ wet chemistry refractory metal refining facility utilises its proprietary solvent extraction system. Primarily refining tantalum and niobium, Metalysis’ capability gives unique control over oxide powder characteristics, including morphology, purity and a chemical mixing system for pre-alloy oxide feed stock.
By having exacting control over oxide production Metalysis can control particulate properties. Metalysis can prepare precision feedstock products of high purity or multi-element mixtures resulting in bespoke morphologies and metal powder characteristics from the subsequent molten salt de-oxidation process.
Metalysis subsidiary, Gravity Mining Ltd., is a Cornish based mineral processing equipment producer, which has patented technology for fine-grained mineral recovery. The brainchild of Cornish engineer, Treve Mildren, who, when working on an antiquated design of a multi-gravity separator concept in the 1900s, determined that by modernising the technology, he could deliver a game changing solution.
The Gravity Mining team pioneered new prototypes in the Camborne Royal School of Mines to validate high yield recovery rates in sub-70 micron mineral fractions. Historically, processing lines at mine sites struggle to mechanically retrieve metal in small fraction sizes. This is a major issue for resource stewardship in countries where artisanal mining counts for a large proportion of mine activity, such as in East Africa.
Artisanal miners often use antiquated techniques which, according to some statistics, can leave behind more than 80% of the target minerals as waste, depleting national reserves into uneconomical mine sites decades ahead of what they are capable of producing.
Gravity Mining has quickly become recognised for its breakthrough PureSelectTM technology and its machines which it exports for use in the mining of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold, chrome and various other minerals, which come in fine-grained form.
The PureSelectTM technology gives Metalysis a substantial advantage in upstream operations across a wide range of minor metals and rare earths. It also provides powerful environmental protection by reducing fine particulate pollutants in waterways.
In-house testing capabilities and specialised corporate partnerships allow Metalysis to design, test and optimise mineral processing circuits for a wide range of mining operations and clients.
Metalysis’ story began in 1997 at the Materials Science and Metallurgy Department, University of Cambridge, UK.
While researching the use of electrolysis in titanium purification, the lightbulb moment occurred for a team led by Professor Derek Fray FRS FREng.
Fray’s team discovered a new way to reduce pure titanium oxide and many other oxides to their respective metals. Subsequent tests proved the discovery and results were published in September 2000 (Nature 361-364 2000).
Named after its founders, the discovery became known as the “FFC” process; the ‘ecosystem’ supporting the company’s broader proprietary technology.
By 2005, Metalysis had moved to South Yorkshire and the commercial journey began and now counts over 300 patents in its portfolio.
The FFC Cambridge Process offers exciting opportunities for synthesising unique metal alloy powders from oxides for near net shape processing and metal additive manufacturing; areas which Metalysis is very well positioned to exploit.
Professor Derek Fray