California-based 5E Advanced Materials (ASX: 5EA), the company that owns Fort Cady – the largest conventional boron deposit in the world – has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with aerospace engineering firm Estes Energetics to collaborate in producing boron advanced materials for solid rocket motors.
In a press release, the companies said that the ultimate goal of their collaboration is supporting the US space and military industries and the specific focus will be on solid rocket motor ignitors.
According to the firms, they will also consider broader cooperation that will entail the creation of production facilities, the development of business activities and the sharing of technical know-how in the boron space.
“Estes is an industry leader in the solid-propellant and aerospace markets. An important consideration of the collaboration is our combined mission to onshore critical materials and technologies that serve critical US government needs. We intend to have a long-term partnership with Estes as we focus on continuous innovation in the boron advanced materials space,” Dino Gnanamgari, 5E chief commercial officer, said in the media brief.
Gnanamgari and Karl Kulling, Estes chief executive officer, pointed out that there is a growing concern in the US related to the import of raw materials. Thus, their joint initiative is considered a positive step towards the building of a supply chain that starts from a domestic mine and continues all the way through products broadly used in solid rocket motors, pyrotechnics, and other applications.
“Boron advanced materials complement our existing manufacturing and research efforts in critical chemicals and solid rocket motors. Boron is used in mature products and has great promise in high-performance fuels,” Kulling noted.