IBC Advanced Alloys (CVE:IB, OTCQX:IAALF) is a unique vertically integrated manufacturer and distributor of a range of advanced beryllium alloys and innovative beryllium aluminum castings that are in high demand across a spectrum of industries. The Company also owns a number of mineral properties, and is actively exploring their Juab County properties in Western Utah, adjacent to the world’s largest beryllium mine at Spor Mountain.
Beryllium has a number of qualities that include being very light, extremely stiff and stronger than steel, x-ray transparent, non-magnetic and non-sparking, and melts at 2,307°C, which is extremely high when compared with aluminum that melts at a much lower 660.32 °C. Pure beryllium plays a strategic role in the nuclear, aerospace and defense industries, and is widely utilized as an alloy in telecom, computing, electronics, medical, oil and gas, and automotive industries.
IBC has 80 employees at four production facilities located in Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Missouri and has its head office in Vancouver, Canada. Sales revenues for the 2011 fiscal year released October 31st , 2011 were $20.45 million, which is an increase of 37% over 2010.
The business is still evolving, and remains in a high growth mode that has been fueled by equity injections of $11.50 million in 2011, and $10.5 million in 2010.
The Company currently obtains its beryllium metal through an agreement with Ulba Metallurgical Plant, a subsidiary of Kazatomprom, the National Atomic Energy Company of Kazakhstan. Ulba is one of the largest beryllium processers in the world and IBC is one of their largest customers. IBC is also exploring and developing its properties in Utah, Colorado, and Brazil, for the production of beryllium ore and concentrates, which may one day ultimately be processed by Ulba.
The first property being developed is the Juab County fluorite and bertrandite project which is located in western Utah, and lies along strike from open pits at Spor Mountain, a location known for its world class beryllium resources. The Juab County project covers 7,630 acres, encompassing an ancient caldera that could potentially be a significant beryllium resource.
Fugro Airborne Surveys flew a detailed 7,495 line kilometre, low altitude airborne radiometric and magnetic survey, which identified several high interest target zones that occupy a very large area within the property.
The Company has configured targets across these high interest zones, and is now undertaking 5,250 metres of Reverse Circulation drilling in 35 holes that will test target zones below the volcanic tuff, and explore concentrations of fluorite, and bertrandite in the underlying Bell Hill Dolomite.
In June of 2011, IBC signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding for the continued supply of beryllium metal and beryllium master alloys with Ulba, which is one of only three fully integrated beryllium producers in the world today. The IBC and Ulba partnership will also examine other technological and business development initiatives that include beryllium, other rare metals and their alloys as well as new opportunities in resource exploration, development, and production.
Management believes that this fragmented market produces $2 billion in annual sales worldwide for beryllium, beryllium alloys and non-ferrous alloys, and presents an excellent opportunity for IBC to continue to consolidate smaller businesses and generate ongoing growth.
This supply partnership with Ulba will benefit IBC’s Engineered Materials Division, which has positioned the Company as a global leader in the beryllium aluminum castings market, and together with the beryllium copper alloys business, has dramatically increased the product range and market depth.
In May of 2011, IBC opened a new state of the art 63,000 square foot manufacturing and advanced casting facility in Wilmington, Massachusetts. The plant is capable of producing advanced investment castings manufactured from the Company’s high performance, and lightweight Beralcast family of alloys.
The facility was established to satisfy a growing worldwide demand for castings, and has sufficient production capacity to hire an additional 40 high tech manufacturing, and engineering personnel over the next three years.
Recent contracts include a global leader in the design and manufacture of high technology assembly equipment that inked a contract for one to three years, for provision of advanced investment castings. This agreement is expected to generate a minimum of $4 million per year.
Another agreement was signed with the U.S. Military Army Research Laboratory, and Naval Air Systems Command to work together to develop, evaluate, and test the use of Beralcast beryllium and aluminum alloys for the United States Armed Forces Fire Scout program, and other unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV drone initiatives.
IBC has also retained Chris Huskamp who is an internationally recognized high performance auto-sports materials and metallurgical consultant to assist with development aimed at the auto-sports market, where IBC materials have great potential to penetrate the motorsports community and worldwide automotive markets.
The Company's range of alloys and composites has a consistently high stiffness to weight ratio, as well as other important materials characteristics, which will allow automotive engineers greater design flexibility and more options to achieve significant performance gains.
IBC is also mounting a very bold attempt to penetrate the nuclear fuel market, which is estimated to produce $35 billion in world-wide sales in 2020, with an innovative new fuel product that contains a blend of uranium and beryllium oxide.
It is hoped that this new fuel blend will be suitable for current and future nuclear reactors, providing an energy source that is more efficient and safer than existing nuclear fuels. The beryllium oxide enhanced nuclear fuel provides a significant reduction of fission gas release, which allows for a higher fuel burn up that contributes to the reduction of energy stored in the fuel pins. These factors become very relevant in a post Fukushima nuclear environment and have the potential to both improve the safety of the nuclear industry but also the economics.
The Company recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ceramic Tubular Products to jointly advance, and develop fuel performance improvements, and operational safety benefits for nuclear light water reactor fuel systems.
IBC`s research and development of beryllium oxide enhanced nuclear fuel is complementary to CTP's cladding technology, which has already received acclaim from a variety of government and industry sources. Development and validation studies that combine the two technologies will be completed at Perdue, and Texas A&M universities.
A Memorandum of Understanding is also in place with Global Nuclear Fuels, which is a joint venture between General Electric (NYSE: GE), Hitachi (TYO: 6501, NYSE: HIT), and Toshiba (TYO: 6502, LSE: TOS) who are undertaking a study on the application of beryllium oxide technology to a boiling water reactor.
Jim Malone, who is IBC’s President of Nuclear Fuels, was appointed as Chairman of the World Nuclear Association's recently initiated Fuel Technology Working Group. The working group's objective is to explore evolutionary fuel technologies with a view to developing, supporting and commercializing alternative fuel-types for the nuclear industry. This appointment tends to validate the potential of IBC’s nuclear fuel technology with major players in the industry.