Innovative Processes Creating New Resources

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    State-of-the-art technological solutions for a greener future


"Catalytic Converters" means a vehicle emissions control device which converts toxic by-products of combustion in the exhaust of an internal combustion engine to less toxic substances by way of catalyzed chemical reactions. The specific reactions vary with the type of catalyst installed. Most present-day vehicles that run on gasoline are fitted with a “three way” converter, so named because it converts the three main pollutants in automobile exhaust: carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen. The first two undergo catalytic combustion and the last is reduced back to nitrogen.

Catalytic converters are still most commonly used in exhaust systems in automobiles, but are also used on generator sets, forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses, locomotives, motorcycles, airplanes and other engine fitted devices. They are also used on some wood stoves to control emissions. This is usually in response to government regulation, either through direct environmental regulation or through health and safety regulations;

Chloruration Process” or “Carbo-Chloruration Technology”means the process used to extract many different kinds of metals that are attached to inert material into a salt in a processing thermal reactor in a pure chlorine gas environment. Carbo-chloruration requires the addition of carbon as graphite or as a gas to complete the reaction. The salt produced has the same physical property as the table salt NaCl to dissolve in a liquid;

“Chromite” means an iron chromium oxide found in peridotite from the Earth’s mantle. It also occurs in layered ultramafic intrusive rocks. In addition, it is found in metamorphic rocks such as some serpentinites. The vast Bushveld igneous complex of South Africa is a large layered mafic to ultramafic igneous body with some layers consisting of 90% chromite making the rare rock type, chromitite. For the production of pure chromium the iron has to be separated from the chromium in a two-step roasting and leaching process. The Corporation has patented an innovative technology to enrich chromite content by removing iron. Chromite is also used as a refractory material, because it has high heat stability;

Chromite Process”means the patented process of the Corporation used to increase the chromium to iron ratios of Chromite;

CIR Laboratory” means the external laboratory facility which supports the Corporation’s R&D lab experimentation efforts;

“Feedstock” or “Raw Material” means the basic material from which a product is manufactured or made. The term is used to denote material that came from nature and is in an unprocessed or minimally processed state. In the Corporation’s case, the feedstock is Catalytic Converters containing the Platinum Group Metals;

“INRS”means the National Institute of Scientific Research or Institut National de la Recherche Scientifiquein French;

“Palladium” means the chemical element with the chemical symbol “Pd. It is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal. Over half of the supply of palladium and its congener Platinum goes into Catalytic Converters, which convert up to 90% of harmful gases from auto exhaust (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide) into less-harmful substances (nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapor). Palladium is also used in electronics, dentistry, medicine, hydrogen purification, chemical applications, groundwater treatment and jewellery.

Palladium plays a key role in the technology used for fuel cells, which combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, heat and water.

Ore deposits of palladium and other PGM are rare. The most extensive deposits have been found in the norite belt of the Bushveld Igneous Complex covering the Transvaal Basin in South Africa, the Stillwater Complex in Montana, United States, the Thunder Bay District of Ontario, Canada, and the Norilsk Complex in Russia. Recycling is also a source of palladium, mostly from scrapped Catalytic Converters. The numerous applications and limited supply sources of palladium result in the metal attracting considerable investment interest;

Patented Processes” means, collectively, the Chromite Process and the PGM Process;

PGM Process” means the patented process of the Corporation used to extract PGE (Platinum Group Elements) or PGM (Platinum Group Metals) out of refractory ore and concentrates rich in PGE or PGM coming from automotive catalysts recycling (Catalytic Converters);

“Platinum” means the chemical element with the chemical symbol “Pt”. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, precious, gray-white transition metal. It is one of the rarest elements in the Earth's crust, occurring in some nickel and copper ores along with some native deposits, mostly in South Africa, which accounts for 80% of the world production.

Platinum is used in Catalytic Converters, laboratory equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes, platinum resistance thermometers, dentistry equipment, and jewellery. Because only a few hundred tons are produced annually, it is a scarce material, and is highly valuable and is a major Precious Metal commodity;

Platinum Group Metals” (“PGM”) and “Platinum Group Elements” (“PGE”) are terms used to collectively refer to six metallic elements clustered together in the periodic table. The six platinum group metals are ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, osmium, iridium and Platinum. They have similar physical and chemical properties, and tend to occur together in the same mineral deposits. However they can be further subdivided into the iridium-group platinum group elements (IPGEs: Os, Ir, Ru) and the palladium-group platinum group elements (PPGEs: Rh, Pt, Pd) based on their behaviour in geological systems;

“Precious Metals”means rare, naturally-occurring metallic chemical elements of high economic value. Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements. They are usually ductile and have a high lustre. Gold, silver, Platinum and Palladium are precious metals. Precious metals have industrial uses but are better known for their uses in art, jewellery and coinage. Other precious metals include the Platinum Group Metals: ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, osmium, iridium, and Platinum, of which Platinum is the most widely traded;

“Prototype Plant”means an early model built to test a concept or process to be replicated or learned from at a later stage; the Corporation built a prototype plant in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, near Québec City, and operated it for the 18 months prior to the date of the Circular, to test the Patented Processes;

“Rhodium” means a chemical element that is a rare, silvery-white, hard, and chemically inert transition metal and a member of the Platinum Group Metals. It has the chemical symbol “Rh”. It is one of the rarest and most valuable Precious Metals. Rhodium is a so-called noble metal, resistant to corrosion, found in platinum or nickel ores together with the other members of the Platinum Group Metals. The element's major use (more than 80% of world rhodium production) is as one of the catalysts in the three-way Catalytic Converters in automobiles. Because rhodium metal is inert against corrosion and most aggressive chemicals, and because of its rarity, it is usually alloyed with Platinum or Palladium and applied in high-temperature, corrosion-resistive coatings. White gold is often plated with a thin rhodium layer to improve its appearance while sterling silver is often rhodium-plated for tarnish resistance. Rhodium detectors are also used in nuclear reactors to measure the neutron flux level;

Table Salt Complex” means an extracted atom of metal (PGE for example) that is combined to a molecule of NaCl in order to form a new molecule such as Na2PtCl6,Na2PdCl4,Na2RhCl6, Na2IrCl6, Na2RuCl6or Na2OsCl6.