Auxilium, which has selected Tucson as its home base, will license inventions from the university that offer a sustainable solution for mining, especially as it relates to climate and the environment - such as water pollution and water usage, making ore leaching more efficient and less toxic, and reducing energy consumption.
Tech Launch Arizona, which commercialises inventions stemming from the school's research, has already licensed three patent-pending technologies to Auxilium. More inventions are still in the discussion stage.
One of the licensed technologies: a leaching process that uses the organosulfur compound thiourea instead of cyanide to extract gold from ore. The process has up to 98% efficiency of extraction.
Another involves a system of floating, interlocking panels covering tailings ponds that can reduce evaporation and increase available reusable water. The system can be outfitted with solar panels.
A third is a spray-on thermal insulating geofoam made with mine tailings. When sprayed, it provides a layer of insulation to prevent heat from radiating from the rock into the working areas, keeping air cooling costs down.
"This type of entrepreneurial collaboration offers a pathway for university researchers looking to increase the impact of their research and advance the industry, even as they remain committed to educating the next generation of mining professionals," Auxilium said in a statement.
"Where others see waste, we see opportunity," Auxilium chief executive Abraham Jalbout added. "We are bringing together these technologies from the different people on the team, and we're putting them together in a circuit to create a holistic approach to tailings management, which makes a very unique value proposition in the tailings world."
TLA senior licensing manager Bob Sleeper noted that mining companies are "hungry" for the kinds of solutions it is developing.
"There's lot of public pressure to clean up existing mining systems, not build new ones, and that's what makes these technologies exciting. The idea that we can work smarter and make existing mines cleaner to operate is a worldwide concern."