BHP, Freeport invest in Jetti Resources’ ‘holy grail’ copper extraction technology

Mike Outwin, founder and CEO, Jetti Resources. Image from Jetti.

Jetti Resources, the Colorado-based company that developed an eponymous copper extraction technology announced Friday it has secured $50 million in funding to support rapid deployment of the technology across large scale copper mining operations.

The financing round was led by existing investor Mitsubishi Corporation, and included new investors Freeport-McMoRan, BHP Ventures, Orion Resource Partners, and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Jetti said Mitsubishi further deepened its involvement as an investor as part of a shared vision for transforming the copper industry.

Facing aging mines with lower grades, the industry is looking at how much more copper they can produce out of existing operations – Chile’s Codelco, for example, is planning massive upgrades of its aging mines.

Jetti Resources, a start-up founded in 2014, says its technology makes it possible to extract copper from low-grade primary sulfides like chalcopyrite, the world’s most abundant copper mineral ore.

Its co-founder and CEO is 32-year-old venture capitalist Mike Outwin, who, in 2018, while based in Vancouver, was named one of BC Business magazine’s ’30 under 30′ business leaders.

“The technology we’ve developed solves the problem [of] being able to leach chalcopyrite to get the copper out. Seventy percent of the world’s remaining copper resources are stuck in low-grade chalcopyrite”

Mike Outwin, CEO, Jetti Resources

“For decades they’ve been trying to figure out how to utilize existing technologies and infrastructure to get copper out of that material,” Outwin told MINING.COM last year. “Its always been thought – if you can leach chalcopyrite – that’s the holy grail.”

“Jetti’s financing round has been backed by two of the world’s largest copper mining companies. We look forward to working with all investors to accelerate the adoption of Jetti’s technology and deliver much needed “green copper” to meet the world’s needs for a low-carbon electrified future,” Outwin said in Friday’s press release.

Jetti Resources attracted to its board copper industry veterans Ken Pickering, former BHP Copper president, former BHP CEO Chip Goodyear, Trevor Reid, former Xstrata CFO, Jonathan Leslie, former CEO of Rio Tinto Copper and John Mackenzie, former CEO of Anglo American Copper.

Outwin said the latest investments demonstrate recognition from the miners of the potential for Jetti’s technology to unlock vast untapped copper resources within their portfolios.

Jetti technology was tested last year by Capstone Mining at its Pinto Valley mine in Arizona. During the first year of Capstone’s partnership with Jetti, cathode production per area irrigated has doubled, Capstone announced last July.

“The technology that we’ve developed solves the problem [of] being able to leach chalcopyrite to get the copper out that the industry currently assigned zero percent recovery to. Seventy percent of the world’s remaining copper resources are stuck in low-grade chalcopyrite,” Outwin said in an interview last year.

Outwin said the Jetti technology is a “game changer” because miners generally assign zero percent recovery to the low grade chalcopyrite, which can make up a significant portion of their mines.

“What we’ve developed is a low cost catalyst that enhances the leaching – it’s the key that unlocks that layer and lets the copper out. We’re able to use existing technology and existing leaching infrastructure that [is in] place,” Outwin said. With this technology, just by deploying it at a site and using existing infrastructure, and going after the minerals they already have on-site – you’re effectively able to create a new mine.”

Jetti has a pipeline of 23 projects at various stages, including five active pilots and three opportunities transitioning to commercial status.

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