Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Argex Mining shares rally on titanium dioxide collaboration with PPG Industries

Argex Mining (CVE:RGX) (OTCBB:ARGEF) announced Tuesday that it has entered into a technical collaboration agreement with PPG Industries (NYSE:PPG) to develop and optimize PPG's technology for titanium dioxide (TiO2).
The goal is to develop a titanium dioxide product that can meet conventional standards for interior and exterior paint and coatings applications, to be produced by Argex.
Argex's stock was up 13.79 percent early Tuesday at 99 cents.
Titanium dioxide is an inorganic substance characterized by brightness and very high refractive index, making it an ideal pigment in paints, plastics and paper.
The deal is intended to make Argex's TiO2 pigment compatible with various end-use applications for PPG. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
PPG is a large coatings and specialty products company, serving customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets. The company operates in more than 60 countries around the world, with sales in 2011 of $14.9 billion.
Argex, a junior company focused on the near-term production of TiO2, iron and vanadium pentoxide, said the collaboration provides the opportunity to negotiate a purchase and supply agreement with PPG, based on the successful development of treatment technologies.
Both companies have agreed to certain terms of mutual exclusivity during the negotiation period.
"PPG's decision to collaborate closely with Argex as both a technical and commercial partner is a further validation of our process and the suitability of the Argex TiO2 pigment for commercial use,” said Argex president and chief executive officer, Roy Bonnell.
"PPG's involvement will assist Argex greatly in our stated goal to advance rapidly to production."
Argex strategy is to produce high purity TiO2 directly from run-of-mine material from its 100 percent-owned deposit in Quebec. The environmentally-friendly process is running continuously at a mini-plant in Mississauga, Ontario, and produces minimal inert tailings.
In December, the junior titanium company unveiled plans to expand its current production capacity by 3,000 percent after successful testing of its La Blache ore pilot-plant.
Production capacity of high purity titanium from the company’s majority owned deposits are expected to rise from 0.3 kilograms a day to up to 10 kg a day.
PPG chief technology officer and vice president of research and development, coatings,  Charles F. Kahle II., said: "PPG and Argex plan to combine efforts with the goal of developing a titanium dioxide product that can meet conventional standards for interior and exterior paint applications.
"This strategic initiative offers PPG the opportunity to leverage our expertise and secure an enhanced supply of this critical raw material. Volatile pricing for titanium dioxide continues to be an important issue for the company."
PPG previously manufactured titanium dioxide using the chloride process at its Natrium, West Virginia chemicals plant, and sold titanium dioxide pigment for coatings and other end-use applications.

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