“Copper is the backbone of the green revolution,” says Greg Hanna, Co-Founder and CEO of Destiny Copper. “Without it, you can’t electrify.” Based in the Niagara Region, the company is developing a clean alternative to processing copper from waste tailings and extracting value. We spoke with him to learn more about Destiny Copper’s journey and future.
Describe your core offering(s). How is your organization contributing to a cleaner, greener future?
Copper is the backbone of the green revolution. Without it, you can’t electrify. As the world makes the transition to a clean economy, we’ll need more copper. However, mining copper creates waste streams that can pose threats to ecosystems and human health. Stranded assets, like tailings ponds in shuttered mines, must be cleaned up, too.
According to an article published by Mining.com, Rio Tinto estimates that there is more than 100mt of copper contained in tailings globally. This equates to a copper value in excess of C$1.2trillion at today’s prices. Yet the incumbent copper extraction processes of SXEW and smelting require large volumes of electricity and emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
Our technology offers a cleaner way to process waste streams, to extract copper using chemistry, limited energy, and no harmful additives, and to make an above-average margin on copper sales.
Other than coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How does this work connect with your core beliefs and values?
I’ve always enjoyed turning a small idea into a business. More importantly, I enjoy helping people along the way. In South Africa, my family ran an export company that supplied the Walt Disney Company, among other clients. Our business created hundreds of jobs for talented craftspeople and opened access to new markets.
With Destiny Copper, we’re cleaning up waste that could be dangerous and disastrous for communities downstream, and, at the same time, we’re creating new value. As we scale up, the technology could be used worldwide. We think we can make a meaningful dent in this environmental challenge.
Tell us about a recent win (or wins) or your organization.
Following many years of research, we raised capital from an industrial investor to build our pilot plant. In the last year, we were one of 16 companies awarded a grant from the Mining Innovation Commercialization Accelerator (MICA), through a program that involved the consultation of several key industry players. We were thankful to be one of the selected applicants, and even more excited by the validation of our technology by the mining industry.
In early March, the Ontario Minister of Mines awarded Destiny Copper a $250,000 grant as part the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund. We’ve also received some smaller grants along the way, but the bulk of our funding has come from Canadian and American investors. We’ve been able to raise a substantial amount in private funds, and the knock-on effect is that we’re now on the radar of some of the venture companies.
Lastly, BMW iVentures recently published a list of 76 entrepreneurial companies worldwide that they feel are changing and cleaning the world of metal production. Their copper extraction category consisted of just two companies: Destiny Copper Inc & Jetti Resources. Jetti recently raised money at a valuation of $2.5 billion. What’s more is that they are up-stream from Destiny. We could purchase copper in solution from them and use our technology to take it all the way up the value chain to +99%Cu.
What’s next for your organization?
We’ve recently signed a lease with the Thorold Multimodal Hub – fellow Ontario cleantech company CHAR Technologies is also a tenant – and we’ll be moving there on April 1. By the end of the month, we’ll receive our pilot plant and continue further test piloting work to increase efficiencies. From there, we’ll build a demonstration plant, about 20 times the size of our pilot and start to explore the sites we have in mind.
Finally, what’s on your team’s wish list for Ontario’s cleantech sector?
We’re passionate about Ontario. This is the place from where we feel can reach into North America and the world. We’ve got everything here: access to ports, stable and supportive government, and the infrastructure to grow Ontario as a global cleantech hub. We’re looking forward to building a clean supply chain with industry partners, and we are excited to see continued support for and investment in the move to a sustainable economy.
Get to know #ONcleantech! Each month, OCTIA will profile a different member company or organization. Want more Ontario clean technology content? Subscribe to our newsletter.