US defence dept awards IperionX $12.7M grant to advance domestic titanium manufacturing

IperionX’s titanium production facility, Virginia. Image credit: IPerionX

ASX-listed IperionX has been awarded a $12.7 million grant by the US Department of Defence to help address critical vulnerabilities within the US titanium supply chain, which is of utmost importance for national security.

The grant will provide a significant boost to IperionX’s efforts to accelerate the re-shoring of domestic titanium production in the United States, which will be realised through the establishment of a titanium production facility in Halifax County, Virginia.

The US DoD’s non-dilutive funding, under the Defence Production Act (DPA) Title III authorities, is coupled with the potential for an additional $11.5 million in equipment financing through the Export-Import Bank of the United States initiatives.

The decision to award this grant follows an evaluation of IperionX’s titanium metal technologies by the US DoD representatives, including an on-site visit to IperionX’s operating pilot plant in Utah.

Currently, the United States heavily relies on imports, with over 95 per cent of its required titanium sponge for the defence sector being imported.

IperionX’s mission is to establish a comprehensive domestic titanium supply chain, thus reducing dependence on foreign imports and fortifying the titanium supply chain for defence and advanced industries.

The $12.7 million US DoD grant will be channelled into the development of a titanium production facility with an initial production capacity of 125 metric tons per annum in Halifax County, Virginia, with production slated to commence in 2024.

The intention is to subsequently expand the facility’s capacity, using a modular development approach, to reach 1,125 metric tons per annum on the same Virginia site.

Titanium, renowned for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, resistance to high temperatures, and corrosion resistance, is a fundamental material for various US defence systems and a wide range of applications spanning aerospace, space, medical, consumer electronics, additive manufacturing, hydrogen, and automotive sectors.

The $12.7 million U.S. DoD grant will be matched by IperionX on a 1:1 cost-sharing basis, resulting in a total funding amount of approximately $25 million.

Dr Laura Taylor-Kale, assistant secretary of Defence for Industrial Base Policy, stated, “Titanium is critical to the basic Warfighting capability of the United States. Domestic titanium production is a top priority for the DoD’s industrial base programs.”

IperionX CEO Anastasios Arima, commented, “Titanium for the US defence sector is currently sourced over long distances from foreign nations.”

The CEO added, “We are pleased to receive this award from the U.S. DoD that will assist IperionX to re-shore a lower-cost, more sustainable and fully integrated U.S. titanium supply chain that is critical to America’s national security.”