Iluka ups stake in titanium powder processing company

Metal powder technology company Metalysis has gained a further £20 million ($39.8 million) investment from Perth-based mineral sands resources company Iluka and a high-profile British investor.

The Financial Times reports that Iluka’s stake in Metalysis, a Cambridge university spin-off business, will now be worth 28.8 per cent.

“The prospects of commercial volumes of titanium metal powder, direct from rutile and synthetic rutile, at a materially lower cost than current technologies, could drive a dramatic expansion in global demand for titanium metal and titanium alloys,” David Robb, managing director of Iluka Resources, told the Times.

The British company’s focus is titanium powder production, which it can achieve at a rate claimed to be 50 per cent cheaper than the kroll process (invented in the 1930s and still the most widely used technique).

“Metalysis’s technology is unique because it uses electrolysis, which means the conversion of feedstock to metal powder is a one-step, solid state process that does not require the use of harmful chemicals,” Kartik Rao, Metalysis’s director of business development, told Manufacturers’ Monthly last year.

The company hopes to broaden the use of titanium in aerospace and elsewhere by making it more affordable. Iluka, which produces zircon and rutile has the same goal.

The other investor was Neil Woodford, founder of Woodford Patient Capital Trust.


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