May 17, 2020

Apple CEO Steve Jobs Resigns. Can Cook keep it Green?

2 min
Steve Jobs resigns his position as CEO of Apple to Tim Cook, but can Cook keep Apple as green as Jobs has?
Well its official, Steve Jobs is no longer the CEO of Apple, Inc. The Silicon Valley titan who spent 14 years heading the company he cofounded has step...

Well it’s official, Steve Jobs is no longer the CEO of Apple, Inc.  The Silicon Valley titan who spent 14 years heading the company he cofounded has stepped down from the post, acknowledging his inability to continue fulfilling the position’s responsibilities. "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come," Jobs wrote in his resignation letter.  But now that Jobs is stepping down, will his successor Tim Cook be able to green the company’s image the way Jobs did?

In a short report written by Jobs himself and posted on Apple’s website, Jobs acknowledged the company’s lack of communication in regard to its efforts to become more environmentally friendly.  Along with outlining how the company has worked to reduce or remove completely toxic chemicals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and others from its products, Apple’s eWaste program has recycled over 130 million pounds of electronic waste since 1994.

Jobs has been an integral component in Apple’s implementation of such environmentally friendly upgrades to its product line and business model.  The company’s computers have become significantly more compact and recyclable since Jobs took over the position of CEO 14 years ago.  For example, since 1998, the company’s iMac computer has shed 60 percent of its weight.  The computer now uses aircraft-grade aluminum, stainless steel and high-grade plastics that are in high demand by recycling companies.  Apple just recently announced that it will collect and properly recycle iPads, iPhones, laptops and desktops for free (even PCs!).


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Jobs’ exceptional candor and openness in the way he conducts business is expressed in his statement, “I hope you are as delighted as I was when I first learned how far along Apple actually is in removing toxic chemicals from its products and recycling its older products. We apologize for leaving you in the dark for this long. Apple is already a leader in innovation and engineering, and we are applying these same talents to become an environmental leader. Based on our tangible actions and results over time, hopefully our customers, employees, shareholders and professional colleagues will all feel proud of our ongoing efforts to become a greener Apple.”

Speculation assumes that Jobs’ decision to step down as CEO is the result of his questionable health.  A pancreatic cancer survivor, Jobs has been on medical leave for an undisclosed condition since January 17, 2011.  He only emerged briefly in March to release the latest iPad and once later to attend a technology leaders dinner hosted by President Barack Obama. 

So will the new Apple CEO Tim Cook be able to continue Apple’s success and emergence as a green leader in the IT industry?  He was hand selected by Steve Jobs when hired in 1998 to serve as Senior Vice President for Worldwide Operations.  He is credited for his role in closing Apple’s manufacturing arm, which reduced the company’s inventory and streamlined its supply chain, increasing margins drastically.  Cook was promoted to COO in 2007 and actually served brief stints as CEO in 2004 while Steve Jobs was recovering from pancreatic cancer surgery, and again in 2009 when Jobs had a liver transplant.  He has been fulfilling most of Jobs’ duties throughout 2011 while Jobs has been away on sick leave.  My best guess is that Cook will guide Apple down a continual path of success, and with Jobs now taking up the position of Apple’s chairman, a little friendly advice from the expert is only a phone call away. 

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Oct 19, 2020

Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process

Scott Birch
3 min
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States
Nevada firm aims to become the primary manganese producer in the United States...

Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.

Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.

The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content. 

In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.

Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.

"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president. 

“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.

"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.

Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.

Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.

A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.

The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.

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