New Technology for Coal and Mineral Recovery Licensed to Virginia Company for Commercialization

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Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc., signs exclusive license agreement with Richmond-based startup, Minerals Refining Company, to exploit novel Virginia Tech separation technology.

Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc. (VTIP) announces an agreement with Minerals Refining Company, LLC (MRC) to commercialize a novel process for recovering high value minerals, including coal. The patent pending invention is a novel method for separating fine mineral particles from slurry, and then removing any residual moisture from the target particles. Moisture removal is particularly important in the recovery of fine coal, potentially allowing tons of coal dust previously stored in retention ponds to be used for fuel. This makes the new process environmentally friendly because it recovers coal particles that were previously considered pollutants.

“My research group at Virginia Tech has developed many separation technologies in the past that are currently used in the minerals and coal industries worldwide,” says Dr. Roe-Hoan Yoon, Chaired Professor, Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Advanced Separation Technologies, and co-inventor of the process. “Scale-up and commercialization of a new technology requires a team work, involving motivated students, experience, and industry support. I believe that we have all of these essential elements in place for another commercial success story. I also believe that timing is good in a sense that this new technology will help the industry minimize environmental impact.”

Joe Basar, President of MRC adds, “Dr. Yoon and Dr. Luttrell have a great track record of developing innovative technologies and successfully partnering with industry to turn them into commercial processes. We are excited to work with them to commercialize our new cleaning and dewatering technology. We believe this new process has the potential to be a technological breakthrough in efficiently recovering fine coal and other minerals. By maximizing resource recovery, the technology would generate benefits for both the environment and the economics of mining operations around the world.”

Michael Miller, Senior Licensing Manager at VTIP negotiated the license agreement with MRC. “It’s always exciting when VTIP can help to move Virginia Tech inventions into the marketplace where they can make a positive impact on society. We are confident that this partnership represents significant commercial potential for MRC and demonstrates the practical value of Virginia Tech research.”

About Virginia Tech and VTIP

As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech ( offers 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 30,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $450 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia. Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties, Inc. (VTIP), the affiliated corporation of Virginia Tech responsible for transferring research discoveries to industry, facilitates the licensing of inventions to businesses, encourages new faculty startup ventures, promotes the commercialization of copyrighted works and software, and supports the transfer of research and knowledge to other universities, research institutes and companies. More about VTIP, including an up-to-date list of technologies available for commercialization, can be found by visiting the VTIP website,

About Minerals Refining Company, LLC

The Minerals Refining Company (MRC) is engaged in developing and commercializing innovative technologies for the minerals and coal industries. Its proprietary technologies are designed to improve the economics and sustainability of separating minerals and coal from impurities. The company was founded in 2012 and is located in Richmond, Virginia. The founders of the company have profound experience and successful history in the minerals and coal industries.

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