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Molecular Tech Revolutionizes Gold and Cannabis Extraction

Omri Wallach Omri Wallach, Stockhouse
2 Comments| February 10, 2020

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Click to enlarge
(Image via Sixth Wave Innovations)

Two of today’s hottest investment sectors are gold and cannabis. Despite being polar opposites, with gold an established long-term game and cannabis the new show in town, there have been many winners in both fields over the last year.

Of course, correctly picking the winners is an entirely different ballgame. There are signs and metrics in every industry that investors can use to gauge prosperity, but with many competing companies, sometimes it feels more like finding needles in a haystack.

However, there is another way to tap into sector success. Investments are always best when they are diversified, and experts have correctly assessed that instead of trying to pinpoint the winners out of the competition, there’s money to be made in working with the entire field. Instead of looking for a gold junior with terrific prospects or a cannabis operator with a profit-making business model, why not work with a tech company that provides solutions designed to make success in those fields possible.

That’s just scratching the surface of Sixth Wave Innovations Inc. (CSE:SIXW, OTC:ATURF, Forum), an advanced tech company with astounding reach into moneymaking sectors. First founded in 2013, Sixth Wave’s specialty is working in molecular sciences and developing separation technologies for extracting specific molecules of interest.

Click to enlarge
(Image via Sixth Wave Innovations)

Naturally, that makes the Company’s products a perfect fit for gold and cannabis, two sectors that rely heavily on extraction. Both sectors have established extraction processes that leave a lot to be desired, and for the President and CEO of Sixth Wave, Jonathan Gluckman, the value proposition is simple. In an interview with Stockhouse Editorial, Gluckman stressed that the Company’s advancements simply get the companies what they need, and more of it.

“Gold mining companies are interested in getting all of the gold that they've spent their time and money digging out of the earth, and at the highest possible levels of purity. Our advanced nanotechnology provides a means for miners to gather the gold more efficiently, with less waste product, and a much smaller plant footprint.”

“Similarly, cannabis processors are looking to recover all of the valuable THC and/or CBD available in their feedstock, at the highest levels of purity. Again, we offer a superior means of recovering cannabinoids at significantly lower cost, with less product loss, high levels of selectivity, and substantially faster processing times. Unlike existing standards, our technology is readily scaled to mass production levels.”

“Perhaps most intriguingly, we use the same type of nanotechnology to extract and purify valuable organic compounds -- such as cannabinoids-- as we do for inorganic substances --such as gold and other valuable metals. Our customized molecules are effective nano machines, programmed to seek out valuable substances with unrelenting persistence, right down to the parts per billion level.”

The key to Sixth Wave’s advanced nanotechnology systems are molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs). These polymers are prepared with a defined molecular “pocket” designed to target specific molecules and their ionic charges. Sixth Wave has more than ten years of history developing various MIP technologies.

For the metals and mining industry, the Company developed the metals processing nanotechnology IXOS®. Each batch of IXOS® beads can be designed to target a specific metal, and so far, Sixth Wave has designed beads for precious metals like gold, silver, and others such as mercury and lithium.

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(Image via Sixth Wave Innovations)

The results of IXOS® are extraordinary, and for the massive gold industry, game changing. The product is a direct replacement for activated carbon, the age-old process used in the sector to extract metals from a leaching solution. The process is effective at extracting metals, but it doesn’t stop at gold, capturing many other metals and contaminants in the process.

By comparison, IXOS® is able to target Au more efficiently, capturing up to 99% of gold from cyanide leach solutions compared to the 85-95% recovery rate of activated carbon. Further, while activated carbon captures around 22% of gold in target ore as well as 55% of unwanted base metals and smaller percentages of other elements, IXOS® captures up to 97.2% of Au. That’s 4x higher gold purity and 18x lower amounts of contaminants.

And as the amount of Au captured goes up, the costs for companies go down. In the case studies that Sixth Wave has conducted with companies like Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K), the relatively simple and quick IXOS® is able to strip gold 6x faster and that may result in +USD $100/oz of savings with increased Au revenue for a mine. At the same time, IXOS® units require a smaller footprint and significantly less water and power than activated carbon processing, helping companies reduce their operating expenses as well.

Click to enlarge
(Image via Sixth Wave Innovations)

If everything sounds too good to be true on paper, the feedback that Gluckman has received from potential customers speaks for itself. As he highlighted, both the IXOS® system and the Company’s gold extraction proposed business model are being welcomed into the industry:

“The rollout of our technology has been very positive, from the performance results, to the way the system is designed, to the simplicity of what we're trying to accomplish here. As well, there's been very little pushback on our business model with regards to how we want to assist our customers and really become partners with them. We want to make sure they're making good money and we don't make our money until they do.”

A similar story is playing out in the cannabis sector, where Sixth Wave believes it has developed a significant extraction advantage with its Affinity™ product. Similar beads as those designed for IXOS® to target metals have been produced to only attract cannabinoids in the AffinityTM platform, and cannabis investors know that cannabinoid extraction is a purity game first and foremost.

New cannabis products are being developed from isolates of THC or CBD that discard excess plant material, and Affinity is working on new designs that will selectively remove cannabinoids to produce high-purity distillates and isolates for an extensive range of target cannabinoids. In the cannabis industry, the current separation standard process is chromatography, which was designed first for the pharmaceutical industry to operate on a large scale. As such, chromatography is also impressively effective, but very expensive and comparatively slow.

Click to enlarge
(Image via Sixth Wave Innovations)

Costs might not be as big of an issue in the pharmaceutical industry, but for cannabis, they’re everything in today’s market. The Affinity™ system was built from the ground up to be small, scalable, and simple to operate. Compared to modern chromatography and cannabinoid processing techs that cost upwards of $1 million for operators, an Affinity™ unit comes in under $200k with an estimated baseline output of 20 kg/day isolate or distillate.

It’s hard not to sound like a salesman when talking about Sixth Wave’s products, but innovative high-tech approaches to old processes always begets tremendous upside. In the case of Affinity™, the fact that material can be continuously recycled through the process leads to yield rates as high as 99.9%. It outperforms conventional methods by 30%, and translated to financial impact, has resulted in projected average savings of US $0.25 per gram.

At this point, the question for Sixth Wave’s potential customers isn’t why, it’s why not. But the Company’s management knows they’re dealing with two very different sectors with specific paths to market. Within the well-established gold industry, working up trust with existing operators takes time but they’re open to the process, while in cannabis, the current fast-pace market is always in the hunt for new improvements. As Gluckman highlighted, Sixth Wave has a distinct path to enter each market:

The two technologies are really on very different trajectory. Typically, our process with gold mines involves both testing at our laboratories and on site conducting direct comparisons between our IXOS® system and their existing process. Then we to move to a pilot plant and scale up. With established mines, this could be on the order of a year or more before we have adoption, but on a new project where there is no infrastructure and the mine is still running feasibility and economic assessments, we can get in earlier. Nonetheless, despite the ramp up period, the potential profit gains from advanced gold purification are enormous, and the payoff for Sixth Wave looks to be equally so.”

“By contrast, the cannabis space is sort of like the Wild Wild West, we're still in the Gold Rush phase. There are literally hundreds of companies that are just getting into processing . Last year, we had a tremendous harvest of hemp, and the industry simply didn’t have many of the processing pieces that needed to come after harvest. There are also a great many companies that aren’t heavily capitalized, or able to afford chromatography equipment. Lots of those start-up companies are building out their plans now. Adoption here is a very fast cycle, and the growth trajectory can be a lightning speed. In response, we've gone through our development process from laboratory to pilot scale to an actual processing facility in record time, and we’re currently scaling for mass production of the Affinity unit and distribution worldwide. It’s an exciting time for us.”

Sixth Wave has smartly positioned itself for growth in not one but two massive investment sectors, offering gold and cannabis production customers millions of dollars in reduced expenses and increased yields. While the flavour-of-the-month company in each sector will always change, Sixth Wave isn’t worried about missing the mark. It’s casting a net over entire markets.

Click to enlarge
(Image via Sixth Wave Innovations)

The highlight for Gluckman, and for many investors, is the nearly unlimited potential at play. Any new hot metal or new cannabinoid discovery causes a scramble to find the best method of capturing the “it” product, and Sixth Wave’s tech can be designed to capture any product.

Likewise, gold and cannabis are far from being the only markets that Sixth Wave’s tech can benefit. In healthcare, the Company’s MIP tech has already been able to isolate and purify drug ingredients and help with disease identification and prevention, and in the defense sector, polymers were designed to assist in detecting explosives and other HAZMAT. When you break things down to a molecular level, it’s hard to find a multibillion dollar industry that the Company can’t impact.

When you look for winners in hot investment sectors, there’s a lot to keep in mind and even more up in the air. When you’re looking for promise in tech, however, the equation becomes simpler. Is the technology impactful and better than the market alternative? Is it tried and tested, and does the team behind it have a history of experience? And finally, is there a clear path to market? For Sixth Wave Innovations, every answer lines up, “Yes.” In cannabis, gold, and beyond.


(Video via Sixth Wave Innovations)




FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.


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