The near-term producer of titanium dioxide said late Thursday it has a proprietary mineral extraction process that allows it to produce high purity, or 99.8 per cent pure, pigment-grade TiO2 directly from run-of-mine material at its deposits.
The process is running continuously at its pilot-plant in Mississauga, and Argex said the closed-loop process is environmentally friendly and produces minimal inert tailings.
As part of the production scale up, Argex said production capacity has increased from 0.3 kg/day to 10kg/day, a 3,000 per cent increase in production.
This was achieved in two stages, the company said, as first, the the 3 kg/day capacity plant was installed and tested, and then a new 10 kg/day capacity plant was constructed in an adjacent building.
The pilot plant is located at PRO in Mississauga, Ontario.
"This successful scale-up provides another affirmation of our CTL chemical technology process," said COO and VP of technology for Argex, Enrico Di Cesare.
"The primary purposes of the scale-up were to decrease pilot plant operating costs and increase TiO2 production volume, thus permitting end-user sampling on a much larger scale for use in their paint production."
Di Cesare said the company can now produce more than three tonnes of TiO2 per year from its Mississauga plant.
"Scalability was never an issue. The delays experienced in the scale-up of the pilot plant were due to delivery delays and minor - but necessary - design changes to the building," he added.
"This will not be a factor in the construction of our industrial plant."
Titanium dioxide is an inorganic substance characterized by brightness and very high refractive index, making it an ideal pigment in paints, plastics and paper.
The company said its CTL process is unique in that it produces high-purity TiO2 "in a single location through a single process", directly from the ore material.
The closed-loop design also uses relatively low concentrations of hydrochloric acid that is regenerated after use in the process, it added.
"This is a significant milestone for the company," said Roy Bonnell, president and CEO of Argex.
"Our team is focused on actively pushing Argex to the next level and, with key and experienced personnel in place, I believe we will get there in short order."
The junior Canadian resource company is developing the advanced stage La Blache titaniferous magnetite project, and also owns the Lac Brûlé high grade ilmenite and the Mouchalagane iron ore projects, which are all located on Quebec's North Shore.