• MTM Critical Metals exercises option to license Flash Joule Heating technology
  • FJH has the potential to extract critical minerals from natural mineralisation and waste material
  • Process uses rapid and intense heating to volatilise metals directly or make them more amenable to extraction with conventional acid leaching


Special Report: MTM Critical Metals has exercised its option to licence the patented Flash Joule Heating technology which can extract critical minerals such as rare earths, titanium, nickel, cobalt and lithium from waste material.

MTM Critical Metals (ASX:MTM) secured the option after acquiring private firm Flash Metals late last year via a binding purchase and sale agreement, adding three granted exploration licences in the remote but mineral-rich West Arunta region.

Flash Joule Heating (FJH) is an early-stage processing technology developed by Rice University in Houston, USA. The Rice University research team who have developed the technology have had previous success with tech commercialisation, notably prolific public semiconductor IP technology company Weebit Nano (ASX: WBT).

The tech is designed to extract critical metals like REE, nickel, cobalt and lithium from natural mineralisation and from waste material – including lithium-ion batteries, eWaste, Coal Fly Ash (CFA) produced by coal-fired power stations, or ‘red mud’ derived from bauxite processing in the aluminium industry.

It uses rapid and intense electrical heating of material to volatilise metals directly or make them more amenable to extraction with conventional acid leaching.

Laboratory testing has shown these processes may be done with less heat and reagents than would traditionally be required in current proven processes for the same metals.

Test work is being carried out to demonstrate whether FJH is scalable and able to both directly recover critical metals and make the materials more amenable to metal recovery.

Importantly for MTM, it could have the potential to unlock value from otherwise economically marginal REE deposits.


Worldwide exclusive licence

Under the exercised option, MTM will enter into a joint research and development agreement with the inventors, with both parties using their best endeavours to complete and execute a worldwide exclusive licence by 20 May 2024.

The worldwide exclusive licence will grant MTM the right to use FJH for the following purposes:

  • Recover REEs, metals and metallic compounds from coal fly ash, red mud, ores, bitumen and coal;
  • The use of processed coal fly ash waste for the lower carbon building materials including cement and concrete;
  • Recovering REE, metals (including gold, silver, platinum and palladium) and metallic compounds from E-Waste (electronic equipment, consumer electronics, power tools, print circuit board, CPU’s and smartphones); and
  • Recycling of degraded or end of life lithium-ion batteries to recover metals including lithium, manganese, copper, cobalt and nickel.

“We are very excited to be able to formally exercise the FJH Option and proceed to licence the Flash Joule Heating technology,” MTM managing director Lachlan Reynolds said.

“The development work conducted by Rice University and KnightHawk Engineering to date, which we have now seen in person, has given us confidence to scale up the technology and to commercialise it.

“The technology applications are extremely exciting and have huge potential as the world looks to decarbonise and secure critical mineral supply chains.”



This article was developed in collaboration with MTM Critical Metals, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.