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RENO, Nev., Jan. 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The following news release includes portions of an article appearing in “Recycling Today,” the premium publication in this sector. The entire article is available at: http://magazine.recyclingtoday.com/article/january-2019-scrap-metals-supplement/itronics-precious-metals-recovery-profile.aspx.
“Itronics Inc. (OTC:ITRO) and its President John Whitney have always envisioned a clean, waste-free planet. Over the years, they’ve translated that vision into innovative, practical and money-making applications.
Whitney is best known for inventing a method for separating silver and other precious metals from spent photographic liquid. Itronics uses the demetallized fluid to make micronutrient-rich fertilizers at its Reno, Nevada, plant, while the metals are turned into bullion and sold to refineries. Additionally, the glass slag produced in Itronics’ refining process can be used to manufacture commercial products, such as decorative tile.
Itronics is not standing still. Within the last four years, the Company has developed a way to reclaim precious metals—including gold, silver and palladium—as well as copper and tin—from discarded computer circuit boards. It has simply added the e-scrap as infeed material for its refinery process.
In that process, silver is not only recovered from photographic waste, but its chemical makeup allows it to soak up metals from circuit boards during furnace refining. The metals then become ingredients in the Company’s bullion.
Because of this e-scrap breakthrough, Itronics is buying more furnaces to ramp up bullion production and will eventually bring in larger furnaces. Whitney has even modified a furnace so that it burns latent heat energy from carbon in circuit boards, reducing outside energy needed to power the furnace by more than 50 percent.
For that furnace innovation, Whitney and Itronics won an award from NV Energy, a Nevada public power company.
“Our Company will never be the same again because the amount of e-scrap is unlimited,” Whitney says. “It’s a nonseasonal business, and it can be expanded in small steps continually. It’s a new revenue source for us, and we can grow it at a rate we can manage.”
Capturing metals from e-scrap is part of Itronics’ overall mission to reclaim 100 percent of all materials it processes, converting everything into salable goods. Itronics calls itself a “zero-waste green technology company.”
Whitney says other businesses, and even the government of China, have tried to replicate his processes, to no avail.
Itronics is moving forward on other fronts as well. This year the Company purchased a centrifuge, which uses centrifugal force to separate solids from liquids in a spinning container. The machine will decrease the time it takes to separate liquids from solids from about five months to two or three weeks.
Meanwhile, Itronics is buying a 54,000-square-foot building on 48 acres in Wabuska, Nevada, where it plans to expand operations. The company’s existing Reno plant is 35,000 square feet in comparison. Whitney says it will take about two to three years to get the plant up and running.
“What we’re doing hasn’t been done before in this manner,” Whitney says. “It’s all pioneering.”
It was in the 1970s that Whitney, who holds a doctorate in mineral economics and a master’s degree in mineralogy, invented a proprietary chemical process that could separate silver from a silver-and-gold-bearing cyanide solution. It was done through his company Whitney & Whitney Inc. in Nevada.
It was no surprise when, in 1986, Reno and its neighboring city, Sparks, turned to Whitney for help with a silver problem. Spent photographic liquids from one-hour photo shops and from X-rays taken at dentist offices and hospitals were ending up in the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake, both prominent fisheries.
The photographic liquids contained silver, which is toxic to fish, and nitrogen, which in large quantities is unhealthy for them. The local wastewater treatment plant was unable to remove all the silver and nitrogen from the liquids.
Whitney, using the proprietary chemical process he invented years earlier, was able to filter out nearly 100 percent of the silver, along with iron and sulfur, from the photographic liquids. By doing so, he saved Reno and Sparks millions of dollars the cities would have had to spend on a new treatment plant.
For that accomplishment, Whitney won an inventor-of-the-year award from the University of Nevada. He also placed second in the 2005 Worldwide Environmental Awards, presented by the Institution of Chemical Engineers based in the U.K.
But Whitney wasn’t finished. He wanted to find a commercial use for the silver, iron and sulfur that, in sludge form, would be separated from the photographic liquid. He dried the sludge, placed it in a furnace reaching 2,100 degrees F and produced nearly 100 percent pure silver bullion.
In 1988, Whitney established Itronics to buy Whitney & Whitney and take the firm public. Itronics initially specialized in collecting and treating photographic waste. The timing was right, because in the early 1990s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said spent photographic liquid containing silver was the country’s largest hazardous waste stream.
In 1990, Itronics started developing its GOLD’n GRO liquid fertilizers, using the liquid that was almost entirely demetallized in photographic waste. Trace metals, along with sulfur and nitrogen, remaining in the liquid are nutrients that are good for people, plants and soil, Whitney says.
“People need micronutrients like zinc, manganese and iron in tiny supplements in their diets,” Whitney says. “Animals and plants have the same needs. So, we are supplying zinc, iron and manganese to the plants. Many other fertilizers in the market are phosphate-based with non-nutrient metals, like cadmium and arsenic. Non-nutrient metal content is very low in our fertilizers.”
Whitney adds that Itronics’ fertilizers deliver nutrients more efficiently to plant roots, so less product is needed, which in turn means less risk for groundwater contamination.
Also, Itronics’ fertilizers improve crop yields, especially for almond-tree farmers. Whitney says when California experienced droughts in recent years, and the state rationed water to farmers, the production of one almond-tree grower using GOLD’n GRO was comparable to prewater-rationing days.
The future looks picture-perfect, in a silver and gold frame, for Itronics.”
Headquartered in Reno, Nevada, Itronics Inc. is a “Creative Green Technology” Company which produces GOLD’n GRO specialty liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver-bearing glass. The Company’s goal is to achieve profitable green technology driven organic growth in specialty GOLD’n GRO fertilizers, silver, zinc, and minerals. The Company’s technologies maximize the recovery and uses of metals and minerals and by doing this maximize sustainability.
Through its subsidiary, Itronics Metallurgical, Inc., Itronics is the only company with a fully permitted “Beneficial Use Photochemical, Silver, and Water Recycling” plant in the United States that converts 100 percent of the spent photoliquids into GOLD’n GRO liquid fertilizers, silver bullion, and silver bearing glass. This is internationally recognized award winning “Zero Waste” Technology. The Company is developing a portfolio of environmentally beneficial “Zero waste” processing and mining technologies. Itronics has received numerous domestic and international awards that recognize its ability to successfully use chemical science and engineering to create and implement new environmentally green recycling and fertilizer technologies.
The Company's environmentally friendly award winning GOLD'n GRO liquid fertilizers, which are extensively used in agriculture, can be used for lawns and houseplants, and are available at the Company's "e-store" on Amazon.Com. Due to expanded retail customer interest, GOLD'n GRO fertilizer may now be purchased in Reno, Nevada at the "Buy Nevada First Gift Shop" at 4001 S. Virginia St.
Follow Itronics on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/itronicsinc
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("Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This press release contains or may contain forward-looking statements such as statements regarding the Company's growth and profitability, growth strategy, liquidity and access to public markets, operating expense reduction, and trends in the industry in which the Company operates. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are also subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those more fully described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in risks, uncertainties or assumptions underlying or affecting such statements, or for prospective events that may have a retroactive effect.)