RENO, Nevada, Nov. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Itronics Inc. (OTC: ITRO), a growing Zero Waste Greentech Fertilizer, Silver, and Mineral Producer, today updated its operations and growth projects progress.
Itronics' mission is to enhance the sustainability and utilization of mineral resources by improving the effectiveness of resource use, improving used mineral recovery and re-use, and enhancing new mineral extraction. The Company's focus is on materials that contain recoverable silver, gold, and base metals. The Company's GOLD'n GRO fertilizer technology increases the availability of mineral nutrients to plants thereby improving crop quality and yield.
Today the "Award Winning" GOLD'n GRO fertilizers and the "Award Winning" Zero Waste Greentech developments are transforming the Company. The fertilizers are now a rapidly growing core operation, with year over year sales increasing by 59 percent in the first nine months of 2019. Year over year silver bullion sales from production by the Company's break-through pilot scale e-scrap refining project increased by 129 percent in the same time period.
The Company is expanding its "Zero Waste" green technology portfolio to create large-scale, long term profitable growth opportunities. Itronics' updated Corporate Profile http://www.itronics.com/docs/Itronics-Business-Profile-2019 that describes these opportunities was distributed by a press release dated 10/23/19. These are technologies to convert silver-bearing concentrates, gold/silver-bearing circuit board scrap (e-waste), and certain types of battery materials to commercial products. Newly introduced is breakthrough "Rock Kleen" technology for use in silver/gold mine heap leach tailing reprocessing to neutralize cyanide and recover silver, gold, and other metals and minerals. Also being introduced is technology to reduce the uptake of non-nutrient toxic metals from agricultural soils by vegetable crops and by field grains.
Development of a Ten-Year Expansion Plan Underway
During the first quarter of 2019 the Company, with the assistance of senior industry experts, began development of a detailed 10-year operations and expansion plan. One objective is to produce an operations expansion and financial plan to guide operations development and to define financing needed to support expansion. Itronics is expecting to achieve rapid growth over the next several years, to be driven by GOLD'n GRO fertilizer sales and to be accelerated by development of additional technologies from the Company's portfolio of "Zero Waste Technologies."
The Company has completed the Reno Operations portion of this plan which defines the capital investment needs and an associated growth path which is primarily driven by growth in sales of the GOLD'n GRO fertilizers. Within three years the growth is expected to be supplemented by circuit board refining and projects to be developed using the breakthrough "Rock Kleen" technology to accomplish recovery of residual silver and gold, while neutralizing residual cyanide by reprocessing silver/gold heap leach tailings at mine sites in Nevada. The Wabuska development and operations planning is just beginning and will be advanced in 2020 as more knowledge of project requirements is gained from on-going research and pilot testing. The Company goal is to begin permitting followed by construction within the next 2 to 3 years.
GOLD'n GRO Fertilizer Progress and Developments
"The GOLD'n GRO fertilizer sales growth achieved in the first nine months is expected to continue in the fourth quarter," said Dr. John Whitney, Itronics President. "Our GOLD'n GRO sales team is demonstrating exciting new field applications for the fertilizer that are expected to lead to significant expansion of sales in 2020. We are successfully expanding and diversifying GOLD'n GRO fertilizer sales in our existing markets and we are establishing sales in the California coastal vegetable markets which will greatly reduce the seasonality of the business in coming years."
This year the GOLD'n GRO sales team has developed and obtained accreditation approval for a plant nutrition training program for Certified Crop Advisers (CCA's), and certified Pest Control Advisers (PCA's) that provides continuing education credits for attendees. The course will be presented at meetings that are attended by our distributor's sales personnel and branch managers in California starting in December 2019. This course was made possible by the unique qualifications of the GOLD'n GRO sales team and fills an important need in the marketplace.
In 2019 the GOLD'n GRO sales team expanded a program of application field testing on cherry and almond orchards to determine whether certain of the GOLD'n GRO fertilizers would solve nutrient deficiencies by improving the ability of tree roots to take up nutrients applied to the soil by microsprinkler and drip irrigation. Wide areas in central California are now demonstrating iron deficiency. Field trials that applied GOLD'n GRO 10-0-0+4% Fe demonstrated that the iron was effectively taken up by cherry and almond trees, thereby eliminating iron chlorosis. The application rates used are cost effective for the growers. These successful demonstrations produced increased sales in 2019 and are expected to significantly expand in 2020 as the grower customers gain a better understanding of how the GOLD'n GRO fertilizers work to improve tree crop quality and yield.
Two field trials on almonds using a multiple GOLD'n GRO fertilizer approach with supplementation of GOLD'n GRO 10-0-0+4% Fe produced the best yield each grower had achieved on the block of trees that were in the trial. One of the growers received a significant premium per acre for his crop based on nut size and color. The value of the premium was many times greater than the cost of the GOLD'n GRO fertilizer used. The cherry tree trials were started too late to benefit the crop yield, but did visibly improve the health and vigor of the trees as a result of improved nutrient uptake.
The Company's GOLD'n GRO sales team also started application field testing on vegetable and fruit crops in the California coastal vegetable and strawberry growing areas. A field trial on strawberries demonstrated that GOLD'n GRO 9-0-2+3% Zn was able to quickly boost levels of certain critical nutrients in strawberries, thereby overcoming some difficult crop limiting nutrient deficiencies. Trials on other berry crops such as blackberries are also being undertaken with very satisfactory results for the growers. Sales of GOLD'n GRO fertilizers for these crops are new and will make an immediate contribution to growth for the Company beginning in late 2019 and continuing into 2020 and future years.
Similar field trials have been initiated on broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale. These trials are for complete crop cycles and are still underway. They are using multiple GOLD'n GRO fertilizers and mid-growth tissue tests are demonstrating very satisfactory results. Widespread vegetable crop nutrient deficiencies are showing up in the coastal California growing areas. The GOLD'n GRO fertilizers are demonstrating the ability to cost effectively overcome some of the more significant nutrient deficiencies. Solving these deficiencies for the vegetable growers presents an important new growth opportunity for the GOLD'n GRO fertilizers in 2020 and future years.
Pilot Scale Breakthrough Technology Circuit Board Refining
The Itronics' R&D group is successfully increasing silver content in the bullion being produced by the pilot scale circuit board refining operation, while improving the operating reliability of the refining furnaces. An operating routine has been developed for the furnaces and bullion production is becoming much more consistent. The Company expects that the amount of bullion per shipment will increase over the next few shipments and that the value of the shipments will be increased by a combination of increased silver content and the continuing increases in gold and silver prices. The Company's pilot plant operation, using only two furnaces, is expected to produce 3 to 4 bullion shipments and one glass shipment per year going forward.
The pilot scale operation has demonstrated that the current furnace heating technology cannot easily be scaled up. As a result, the company is planning to engineer and install an electric induction furnace which uses an entirely different method of putting heat into the melt and can be readily scaled up once it is proven. The furnaces are operated in pairs, so successful implementation of the new furnace will result in a second furnace being installed. The two furnaces will then be used to provide engineering design data to serve as the basis for larger scale furnaces to be installed at the Wabuska Green Technology Campus that the Company is developing. Addition of two electric induction furnaces will increase bullion production sequentially as they are installed and put into operation in 2020 and 2021, resulting in doubling pilot scale production at the Reno facility.
The R&D group has also been improving the leaching technology that is producing high silver content material for the refinery. Operating knowledge for using the new equipment installed late last year is improving and the silver content of concentrates being produced for the refinery is increasing. The group is now integrating the iron and sulfur bearing liquids being produced by the leaching technology into the GOLD'n GRO fertilizer manufacturing operation thereby reducing the cost of raw materials for the fertilizers and improving their profitability.
Rock Kleen Technology Development
The Company's technical services group has signed a research contract to evaluate the potential for silver tailings reprocessing for a silver mining company. The project is using the Company's newly developed Rock Kleen Technology to accomplish the reprocessing. Results of the first round of testing are expected late in the fourth quarter. The Company expects that the silver tailings reprocessing research could begin to generate meaningful cost reimbursement revenues in 2020 as the scope of work expands.
Research cost reimbursement is a new revenue source for the Company and is expected to increase as new process application research gets underway on new projects and as existing projects expand. This new revenue source is expected to increase revenues in the fourth quarter 2019.
Manufacturing Facilities Operation and Development
The Company's Reno manufacturing facility is fully operational and acquisition of the Wabuska manufacturing facility has been completed.
The Company's manufacturing plant in Reno, Nevada is a major asset and is strategically located near a rail siding, which is next to the Reno-Stead Airport, and has significantly increased in value over the past two years. We expect this property to continue to increase in value because of the influx of large tech manufacturing and distribution companies in northern Nevada. The Reno facility is also increasing in value for the Company as a location to perform application R&D and specialty manufacturing, including the GOLD'n GRO fertilizers.
During the third quarter the Company acquired control of a 48-acre, 60,000 square foot manufacturing facility located at Wabuska, Nevada for a purchase price of $1.6 million. The site is zoned for fertilizer manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, and foundry operations. It has four dry product silos and four liquid product tanks with a total volumetric capacity of almost 300,000 gallons and is adjacent to a rail siding. The purchase includes almost 9-acre feet of water rights and there is one water well on site. The site includes a large electrical power supply and a large natural gas supply. This is a long-term strategic site acquisition for commercial expansion of the Itronics portfolio of "Zero Waste Green Technologies" including expanded manufacturing capacity for its GOLD'n GRO fertilizers. This facility is being developed as the Wabuska Green Technology Campus.
As part of the acquisition, the Company completed a current Phase I Environmental Review which recommended a Phase II Sampling Program. The Northern Nevada Development Authority (NNDA), under terms of a contract with U.S. EPA, agreed to fund both the Phase I and Phase II studies. The total cost was estimated to be about $40,000. The Phase II sampling plan was approved by U.S. EPA and was completed in June 2019. The property, consisting of six parcels, was cleared by the sampling project. The Company now has a "clean" Phase II study for each of the six parcels. This is a real value enhancement for the company due to the fact that the site and the associated rail siding has been in use since the 1920's.
The Wabuska Green Technology Campus is conveniently located about 15 miles east of the Fulstone Project area and may be able to serve as an operations base to support development of that project.
Auric Fulstone Project Developments
The Itronics technical services group has also been soliciting and negotiating confidentiality agreements with potential mining companies that might become joint venture partners for developing the Auric Fulstone Project. One confidentiality agreement is in place and the mining company will begin reviewing the Auric Fulstone project late in the fourth quarter 2019. The technical services group has high expectations that one or more mining companies will have an interest in co-developing the Auric Fulstone project in 2020, especially if gold and silver prices continue to increase.
Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Itronics Inc. is a "Creative Green Technology" Company which produces GOLD'n GRO specialty liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver-bearing glass. The Company's goal is to achieve profitable green technology driven organic growth in specialty GOLD'n GRO fertilizers, silver, zinc, and minerals. The Company's technologies maximize the recovery and uses of metals and minerals and by doing this maximize sustainability.
Through its subsidiary, Itronics Metallurgical, Inc., Itronics is the only company with a fully permitted "Beneficial Use Photochemical, Silver, and Water Recycling" plant in the United States that converts 100 percent of the spent photoliquids into GOLD'n GRO liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver bearing glass. This is internationally recognized award winning "Zero Waste" Technology. The Company is developing a portfolio of environmentally beneficial "Zero waste" processing and mining technologies. Itronics has received numerous domestic and international awards that recognize its ability to successfully use chemical science and engineering to create and implement new environmentally green recycling and fertilizer technologies.
The Company's environmentally friendly award winning GOLD'n GRO liquid fertilizers, which are extensively used in agriculture, can be used for lawns and houseplants, and are available at the Company's "e-store" on Amazon.Com. Due to expanded retail customer interest, GOLD'n GRO fertilizer may now be purchased in Reno, Nevada at the "Buy Nevada First Gift Shop" at 4001 S. Virginia St.
("Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This press release contains or may contain forward-looking statements such as statements regarding the Company's growth and profitability, growth strategy, liquidity and access to public markets, operating expense reduction, and trends in the industry in which the Company operates. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are also subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those more fully described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in risks, uncertainties or assumptions underlying or affecting such statements, or for prospective events that may have a retroactive effect.)
SOURCE Itronics Inc.