March 12, 2020: Aqua Metals, the lead battery recycling firm that was forced to shut down last year when a fire ravaged its operations in Reno, Nevada, announced it had received a third insurance payment on March 11, this one of $5 million, which makes a total of $10 million so far.
The company said it was working with the insurers to collect additional losses of up to $50 million.
“I would like to acknowledge the long hours of comprehensive and diligent work of our finance and administration team, engineering and operations teams with support of our public adjustor and special counsel to affect the $10 million of payments to date in the 100 days since the fire,” said president and CEO Steve Cotton.
The fire occurred in the AquaRefining area of the facility on November 29, causing $40 million-$50 million in damage and business interruption.
In the company’s announcement on March 11, the cause of the fire was attributed to ‘contracting work being done in the area which had been idled several weeks earlier to facilitate the work’.
Aqua Metals also set out its outlook for 2020, saying it was ‘developing and analyzing a proposed capital light business strategy intended to optimize shareholder value by focusing on licensing opportunities’.
“We believe this path has the potential to maximize shareholder value and could be far less capital intensive and potentially more value maximizing than a rebuild and could possibly be funded solely or primarily from a combination of cash on hand, insurance proceeds and asset dispositions,” the statement said.
“A capital light strategy is consistent with our long-held business strategy and objectives. The approach for developing this strategy is to pursue potential licensing opportunities within the lead battery recycling marketplace while strengthening our cash position first, working on the successful collection of insurance proceeds.”
The statement also said the firm’s ‘go forward capital light technology licensing business’ would require less space and equipment to enable a better focus on client needs, and that it was working on demonstrating improved electrolysers.