Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Siemens Consider Joint Alstom Bid
Hitachi Ltd. plans to partner with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Siemens in a bid to acquire French multinational company Alstom’s energy business. MHI and Siemens are currently deciding whether to submit a joint proposal to Alstom that would rival a $17 billion bid from GE.
Longtime partners Hitachi and Mistubishi Heavy—both based in Japan—are considering offering $5 billion for Alstom’s steam turbine assets, while Siemens may match that for Alstom’s gas turbine division. Alstom’s steam turbines account for more than twenty percent of global installed capacity, and more than 30 percent of nuclear power stations currently use them. There was no indication that the proposal would include Alstom’s wind turbine business.
In May, Mitsubishi Heavy President Shunichi Miyanagi expressed the company’s interest in accelerating its global expansion through mergers, acquisitions and alliances. The company and its potential partner could certainly benefit from access to Alstom’s clients throughout Europe. Neither Mitsubishi Heavy nor Hitachi Ltd. currently have much presence in the region and intend to sell other technologies such as clean-coal power stations and nuclear equipment.
Mitsubishi Heavy has been paying down debt and cut its debt equity ratio in half between 2010 and 2013 while increasing its cash reserves to nearly $4 billion. The deal follows a major reorganization for the company that involved the consolidation of nine business divisions into four domains for the business year that began in April.
The potential acquisition is in alignment with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for more exports of Japanese coal technology and nuclear equipment to increase growth. Abe has often lauded Japan’s ability to build increasingly efficient coal plants that help reduce emissions, including technology that was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy. As Japan distances itself from atomic energy following the Fukushima disaster in 2011, Abe is also pushing for domestic companies to build their first nuclear plant overseas.
Hitachi is currently planning the construction of new nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom after buying the Horizon Nuclear Power project from E.On and RWE. The project involves the construction of two to three 1,350 MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactors and is currently being assessed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
In a separate deal, Siemens is also proposing to combine its rail activities with Alstom's. The French government has actively lobbied for the deal, saying it would create a European rail champion.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
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.