Changing The World One Supply Chain at a Time
By Anastasios Arima, CEO and Managing Director of IperionX (formerly Hyperion Metals)
When Forbes writer Marco Annunziata wrote, “Supply Chains Begin and End In the Earth”, he could scarcely have been more in tune with the vision of IperionX (formerly Hyperion Metals) of a world that is improving, one supply chain at a time. This is more important now than ever before. Supply chain issues, normally tucked away in conferences and niche publications, are now headline news.
Supply chain constraints are currently causing real issues, like stopped automotive lines for the lack of a single component or delayed deliveries as ships queue up to access ports and offload containers. Supply chain security, diversity and resilience are being discussed in the corridors of power in Washington, Brussels, London and Beijing. And supply chain redesigns are the flavor of the moment.
As IperionX develops its strategy to extract and convert critical metals from our mineral development in Tennessee, we’ve been fully focused on doing it better, and that means more sustainably and with a focus on all of our stakeholders. Key to being able to do that is looking at the end-to-end supply chain and not just mineral extraction.
The mining industry does not have the best credentials or track record on sustainability. This is just one of a number of things that needs to change in the industry. Transforming an industry with hundreds of years of history isn’t simple and won’t happen overnight, but by assembling leaders and a team with the right vision and a holistic approach, IperionX can get started right away.
Take the titanium supply chain as an example. Extraction of titanium minerals has been expensive, wasteful and undertaken with little or no care for the environment for decades. What’s more, the supply chain for titanium metals, critical to the US defense and aerospace industries, has migrated to China and Russia. Now, there is no domestic primary titanium metal production in North America and supply chain security and resilience is under serious and immediate threat.
At IperionX we believe it’s not too late and that this can be reversed by sustainably extracting titanium from the earth, and then economically and sustainably converting it to titanium metal using a new and innovative technology that is more efficient, uses less energy, and has a significantly lower carbon footprint than the traditional process.
And that’s not the end of the story. By partnering with key players in the additive manufacturing (3D Printing) sector, we can complete the supply chain from extraction to 3D printed parts, all with granular traceability and the life cycle analysis needed to ensure a fully sustainable and carbon neutral supply chain.
Understanding the Issues
IperionX has partnered with Presidio Graduate School’s management consultancy PGS Consults to be the objective ‘eyes and ears’ for the company’s wide-ranging stakeholders’ ESG priorities, and to evaluate the environmental impacts of our projects from a full life-cycle perspective.
As Pamela J. Gordon, PGS Consults Managing Director states, “Titanium materials play a key supply chain role owing to their light and strong characteristics. As in any extractive or manufacturing process, it’s vital to consider environmental, social, and governance implications not only for the ‘product’ itself but also for the entire supply chain. Our team is pleased to help IperionX with these strategic considerations.”
We’re delighted to be working with Pamela Gordon and the team at PGS Consults. We really do want to take an overarching holistic approach to these issues, making sure one initiative, while delivering positive change in one place, does not have a negative impact elsewhere.
Partnerships Are Key
We’re not trying to do this alone. In fact we believe that fierce collaboration is the only route to success. Just as we take a holistic approach to the supply chain, we are taking an inclusive approach to building our community of partners and experts.
IperionX has been busy signing MOUs (memorandum of understanding) with partners like EOS, who provide responsible manufacturing solutions via industrial 3D printing technology to manufacturers around the world. As they put it, “Responsible manufacturing and sustainability are the guiding principles of everything we do at EOS, both internally and externally.”
Outside of the titanium sphere, Hyperion has partnered with NYSE listed Energy Fuels, a uranium and rare earths processor based in Utah, to supply them with rare earth elements, another critical supply chain, found amongst our titanium mineral concentrates.
One Supply Chain at a Time
We know that we can’t transform every part of a centuries old industry single handedly and overnight, just as we know that in our own supply chains we have to work collaboratively and one step at a time. The keys to success are clear intent and partnerships. We are committed to creating better supply chains and we strongly believe that we have started in the right way by bringing all stakeholders together, garnering the views of as many people as possible and assembling a team that can drive real impact.
If we can extract, convert and use titanium sustainably using innovative technology that’s a great start. Then we can make the world a better place, one supply chain at a time.