May 17, 2020

Canada to Employ Groundbreaking Satellite Tracking Systems

energy digital
Giles Peeters
3 min
The value of situational awareness across industries
Click here to experience this article in our digital reader Track24, a leading global provider of Situational Command and Control (SCC) operational so...


Click here to experience this article in our digital reader 

Track24, a leading global provider of Situational Command and Control (SCC) operational solutions, is breaking ground in the Canadian market with its innovative satellite tracking devices. In response to the growing need for secure satellite data communications within the military and other government organizations, the Canadian government has awarded Track24 a $1 million contract to supply short burst data (SBD) services from Iridium Communications Inc., operating the world's furthest reaching communications network.

At its core, the technology allows for customers in the defense and security sectors to track messaging panic alerts, affording them critical situational awareness and the ability to locate the right person in the right area at the right time.

“Government departments often need innovative, high-value satellite services at short notice,” notes Director of Canadian satellite services at Track24, Giles Peeters. Iridium's SBD service can transmit messages in small data packets via its satellite network in under 20 seconds.

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“We are able to use our vast experience to provide secure, reliable solutions to help user communities function in a controlled, safe and effective manner,” he adds.

An ex-military man himself, Peeters has been working in the military technology sector for some 19 years, having served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In Afghanistan, I noticed that we had a lot of capability gaps,” says Peeters. “What we [at Track24] are specializing in is being commercial, cost-effective and high-capability solutions to that space—an area where we have become a world leader.”

After about two years of development, those solutions will finally come to fruition in a major world government. Industries across Canada will soon be able to gain access to the unique, high-security, affordable technology capable of integrating multiple networks without interruption.

“We are already talking orders with a number of government departments across Canada who will capitalize on the benefits that these satellite solutions can provide,” says Peeters. “If you know where your assets are you can much more efficiently direct those assets and use what you need in an urgent situation.”

It's no surprise then that the company's biggest users are in defense. Cutting-edge Blue Force, Homeland or private security satellite tracking, command and control solutions are critical for safe, successful operations in the military—control being the key word. It allows for commanders to communicate and monitor the location of men and vehicles on one of the most advanced interfaces in the world.

“If someone presses the panic alert button, you don't want 100 troops all rushing over just to pick someone up,” explains Peeters. “You want to know what the issue is and where your nearest responders are.”

The same concept can be applied to the commercial sector where, for instance, a non-serious roadside accident would typically attract an unnecessary number of cop cars, ambulances or fire trucks.

“One of the neat things about our technology is that if you press the emergency response button, it will not only automatically send the precision record and emergency details back to the headquarters, but also detect where the closest responders are to that emergency,” says Peeters.

Mining and oil companies, too, are picking up on the security benefits of the tracking systems to secure extremely valuable assets like pipelines, aircraft, ships and operators.

In the next few years, Peeters believes the systems will reshape the way the world looks at technology, and a new standard will be set for linking up technologies in operations under one gateway. NATO has already employed a similar solution, providing one gateway system for 27 different nations of media outlets to access.

“In a matter of time, operators will just be able to show up and literally plug into a gateway, enabling everyone to speak to each other under a certain data standard,” says Peeters. “The challenge now is to educate people on the benefits of that technology.”





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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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