MONTREAL, March 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Argex Titanium Inc. (TSXV: RGX) ("Argex" or the "Company") is pleased to provide a corporate update on the Company's activities over the latter part of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.
Roy Bonnell, President & CEO comments, "The Argex team has made significant progress over the past six months and the industry has taken notice. Our efforts in 2012 were supported by enthusiastic shareholders and the financial community. Our approach has been to move rapidly to production while mitigating all risks. To this end, the last six months have been dominated by hard work in the following areas: the feasibility study, the optimization of our product, the advancement of end-user agreements and the promotion of the Argex name amongst industry participants. Some of the highlights of this period and beyond, include:
- On October 11, 2012, Argex announced the launch of its feasibility study with GENIVAR Inc., one of Canada's largest engineering firms, to establish the economic viability of a titanium dioxide (TiO 2) first-module production facility and to provide a capital plan and capital estimate. Citing the potential game-changing nature of the novel CTL process, both GENIVAR and Argex have agreed to mutual terms of exclusivity for engineering services related to the development and construction of TiO 2 processing plants projects using this patented process . At the time of the announcement, Mr. Bonnell stated that the hiring of GENIVAR to complete the feasibility study for the future Argex TiO 2 industrial facility is an important step towards launching commercial production of our TiO 2 product. Upon completion of the study, Argex will be in a position to evaluate major partnership opportunities, and engage in detailed construction engineering work and start hiring suppliers. "To date, the work is on time and on budget," added Enrico Di Cesare, COO and Vice-President of Technology at Argex, "A feasibility study is an intensive effort for any company and those involved. We look forward to sharing the results with everyone in the next few months," he said.
- Argex and PPG Industries signed a collaboration agreement for the development and optimization of pigment grade Titanium Dioxide (TiO 2) for paints and coatings combining PPG's paint technology with Argex TiO 2 proprietary processing technology in April, 2012. The Agreement provides for, among other things, the negotiation of a purchase and supply agreement between PPG and Argex based on the successful development of treatment technologies. Noted Mr. Bonnell, "We are pleased that the collaboration between the two companies is much broader than just a simple off-take agreement. We are not intending to just make a simple feedstock. We are intending to make pigment which commands a higher price. Depending on the pigment's use, different specs are required and different coatings applied. To have an industry leader on our side working with us collaboratively through-out the last six months constitutes a huge plus for Argex. Although the negotiation of a purchase and supply agreement between PPG and Argex has taken longer than anticipated, we look forward to finalizing the agreement to the mutual satisfaction of both parties as soon as possible."
- On October 18, 2012 Argex announced the appointment of a new head of sales and marketing, Philippe Guillemaille. Mr. Guillemaille's focus has been two-fold: promoting Argex to the existing TiO 2 industry and the development of end-user relationships. "Despite being a new name, Argex has been able to capture the industry's attention," said Mr. Guillemaille. "Its ongoing collaboration with PPG is no doubt part of that, but from the perspective of the industry players, becoming part of the American Coatings Association is tremendously important as it represents some of the biggest names in the coatings industry right across the supply chain." In terms of his other responsibilities - sales to end-users, Mr. Guillemaille added the following, "Currently, we are in talks with many large end-users interested in using our product, including paint companies, plastic companies, cosmetic companies, PVC manufacturers and chemical distribution companies - it is very exciting. I am often asked by people how long does it take to sign a purchase and supply agreement. In our case, some of these deals proposed to us are for a very large volume- up to 50,000 tonnes per annum. Some of these deals proposed to us are for a very long period - in excess of ten years. In other words, the monetary figures involved here are potentially very large and are of significant material amounts, not just for Argex but also for the companies proposing them. Normally contracts of this size can be expected to take up to 12-14 months from start to finish to negotiate, depending on the complexity of the relationship."
- On February 14, 2013, Argex announced that it had been recognized by the TSX Venture Exchange as one of the 2013 TSX Venture 50 Companies, a ranking of strong performing companies on the TSX Venture Exchange. Argex achieved the second best rating of all companies included in the mining category. "This underscored a strong year of performance by our stock," commented Mr. Bonnell, "by focusing on operations and moving rapidly to production while mitigating all risks, we have built ourselves a strong following in the investment community. I am pleased to note that on January 9, 2013, we added Cormark Securities to the list of investment banks covering the Argex story, which underscores the support we have been receiving."
- On May 1, 2013, COO Enrico DiCesare and Head of Sales & Marketing, Philippe Guillemaille will present at the 2013 TiO 2 World Summit in Barcelona, Spain. In particular, the Argex team will introduce its process and compare its TiO 2 production process to current technologies to an audience composed of the largest and most influential industry players. Argex is also scheduling a number of meetings and will use this opportunity to hold discussions with potential partners and increase its visibility among players active throughout the TiO 2 supply chain.
"It is not an overstatement that the opportunities that are being presented to us are exciting and significant," remarked Mr. Bonnell. "The considerable amount of work undertaken positions us to begin a more public discussion of pending events as they unfold in the near term."