World first bio-technology for recovering gold, copper and other valuable metals from electronic waste is quickly attracting clean technology investors.
Mint Innovation has already taken its technology from laboratory to pilot stage and it is now seeking around US$4 million to build its first commercial scale plant.
While it has early interest from Silicon Valley and plans to eventually licence its intellectual property for its unique e-waste recovery process, Mint Innovation is partnering with Remarkit Solutions to next year build the world’s first biometallurgical metal recovery plant in Auckland, New Zealand.
Dr Will Barker, CEO of Mint Innovation, says the low-cost recovery process uses inexpensive chemicals and specialist microorganisms to purify the precious metals from e-waste. The microbes at the heart of the process are sourced naturally from the environment.
“Our team, led by Dr Ollie Crush, has successfully extracted precious metals on a small scale and it is now time to scale,” Dr Barker says.
“To give an indication of scale of what we can achieve from 3000 tonnes of printed circuit board currently going to landfill, we estimate recovering up to 600kgs of gold (estimated to be worth US$24.5 million at today’s rate). A further 600 tonnes of copper can also be recovered, displacing up to 12% of New Zealand’s copper imports. Palladium is another precious metal that we recover.”
Mint Innovation recently received NZ$80,000 from the New Zealand Government as part of its drive of the country’s transition to a circular economy.
A private company, Mint Innovation is majority (31.74%) held by Dr Barker, who is a seasoned start-up executive with a background in IP security, partnership development, building high performance teams and capital raising. Dr Barker closed fund raising transactions worth more than US$200 million for carbon capture specialist LanzaTech.
Other investors are currently New Zealand domiciled.
About Mint Innovation:
Mint Innovation, a New Zealand cleantech company, has developed a unique biometallurgical approach to recover metals from electronic waste. A key aspect of the Mint process is the use of proprietary microbes that are selective for specific metals. Combined with the advantages of low-cost chemistry, Mint’s technology will make it viable, both economically and environmentally, to capture value from e-waste near its point of collection. www.mintinnovation.co/