Potential disruptor of the multi-billion-dollar global mineral analysis and testing market, Australia’s Chrysos Corporation, has a A$450 million (US$333m) enterprise valuation on it after completing a A$50m (US$37m) equity raise to accelerate international commercialisation of its PhotonAssay equipment and technology.
Key backer of the company, London-based RFC Ambrian, says the A$4.50-per-share raising “will be the last ahead of a listing on the ASX [Australian Securities Exchange] in 2022”.
Encouraged by the substantial returns it has already seen on its investment in Chrysos and NextOre, another company spun out of Australia’s CSIRO, RFC Ambrian has joined with CSIRO and US-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to form a “science incubator to get great science ready to push out into industry”. The incubator was modelled on two successful programs run by NREL and funded by energy major Shell and US bank Wells Fargo.
Head of RFC Ambrian in London, Charlie Cryer said the firm had also launched a new A$75m Basic Industries Venture Fund (an Australian Early-Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership) to invest in first deployment and growth of potentially ground-breaking technologies. “We have been working with the CSIRO over the last five years to assist with the commercialisation of various technologies with direct application to the sustainability and improved efficiency of the mining industry,” Cryer said.
NextOre’s bulk ore sorting sensor system relies on magnetic resonance technology – used for decades in medical MRI machines – to give miners a constant flow of information on production ore.
Chrysos’ PhotonAssay uses high-powered X-rays to determine metal concentrations in samples, displacing traditional fire-assay techniques.
Cryer said both technologies had passed “the adoption inflection point and we find ourselves at the forefront of the commercialisation of innovative technology solutions for the natural resources industry”.
“Chrysos PhotonAssay technology is an environmentally friendly replacement for fire assay, delivering faster, safer and a more accurate gold analysis using high-powered X-rays to measure specific elements in a given ore sample in as quickly as two minutes without destruction of the sample or toxic chemical use,” RFC Ambrian says.
“Perenti, Intertek, MSALABS [owner by driller Capital Limited], Barrick Gold, and Kirkland Lake are early adopters.”
Chrysos CEO Dirk Treasure said in an interview after the equity financing announcement the funds would be used to meet accelerating demand for PhotonAssay from miners, explorers and laboratories. The company’s sales pipeline was strong with contracts representing “150% growth on current deployments” and locking in its manufacturing capacity for the next 12 months. That would bring the total number of deployed and committed PhotonAssay units to 15.
“Our ambitious plan is to deploy 80 PhotonAssay units over the next five years,” Treasure said.
“At that point, with each unit capable of processing up to 480,000 samples per annum, we will be helping our customers reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 18,000 tonnes and decrease hazardous waste by approximately 12,000 tonnes every year.”
Chrysos sees room in the global market for about 350 PhotonAssay units.
On the subject of an ASX listing, Treasure would only say it was “certainly an opportunity we’re considering for the future”.
“We’re focused at the moment on deploying those funds [raised] to advance our global growth,” he said.
“Before the end of this year we’re going to be operating across Africa and over in North America as well – building those hubs in those two regions – and then using that to leverage additional growth in those markets.”