TECHNOLOGY

Metalsearch partner makes IP progress on zeolite technology

Australia-based mineral and compound producer Metalsearch Ltd said the University of Queensland's technology commercialisation company started the process for international patent protection of a zeolite manufacturing technology.

 Molecular structure of a zeolite

Molecular structure of a zeolite

The university's technology transfer company, UniQuest, has filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty as a first step to internationally protect and commercialise mineral processing technology that could significantly lower the cost of zeolite production.

Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts.

Metalsearch in April secured a global licensing deal with UniQuest, enabling the latter to proceed with the first phase of the patent process.

Academics at The University of Queensland's School of Chemical Engineering have developed a unique approach to manufacture synthetic zeolites from kaolin feedstock. This processing technology is a synergistic fit to Metalsearch's Abercorn project, as the primary feedstock is kaolin.

The company's Abercorn kaolin mineralisation prospect in Queensland has the potential to extract marketable volumes of higher-grade Al2O3 feedstock. The technology will potentially fast-track development of the Abercorn project, with a low capital cost to reach commercial production, utilising the company's kaolin feedstock.

Under lab conditions, the university demonstrated up to 70% reduction in energy in the thermal activation stage and up to 80% reduction in production time in subsequent zeolite precipitation steps.

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