Meet The Disruptors: Anastasios “Taso” Arima Of IperionX On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Fotis Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
7 min readAug 11, 2022

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Exceed people’s expectations. Jump into the deep end and learn to swim. When you impress people and build relationships with them, they will be there to make sure you don’t sink.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anastasios “Taso” Arima.

Anastasios “Taso” Arima is the Founder and CEO of IperionX, a leader in developing U.S.-based sustainable critical mineral and critical material supply chains. Taso has a long history of identifying company-making projects and in the exploration, development, financing, and permitting of projects. He attended the University of Western Australia where he studied Commerce and Engineering.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I grew up in Perth, Australia, an area where industry is heavily reliant on mining so that is the industry I knew. It made sense to get started in the metals and mining space. After university, I started in mining finance, eventually founding a coal company in Alberta, Canada. I stayed in the fossil fuels area until I moved to the U.S. when I recognized the coal mining industry was on the decline. I wanted to align myself with industries with an eye toward sustainability, and along with my team, I created another company, called Piedmont Lithium, which we developed into one of the leading lithium projects in North America. After Piedmont was well advanced and with a strong management team in place, I began to look at other supply chains in the United States that are vulnerable and need to be re-shored, with titanium being a standout. We identified very quickly that both titanium mineral and metal supply chains need to be rebuilt in the U.S., and we have secured a very large mineral deposit in Tennessee, and have combined it with an advanced, highly sustainable titanium metal production technology. And that is why I started IperionX — to revitalize the U.S. titanium industry with a low-cost and low-carbon method for titanium manufacturing and extraction.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Our technology is going to disrupt the metals industry. Titanium’s weight-to-strength ratio is superior to that of aluminum and steel, can withstand extreme temperatures and is extremely corrosive resistant. Yet, due to its high price tag, it is primarily used in high-end, advanced applications, including fighter jets, ships and missiles Our titanium metal technology has the potential to enable the production of a low-cost, low-carbon, sustainable titanium. Not only that, but our technology also enables us to use 100% recycled scrap metal to produce high-quality titanium metal, enabling a closed-loop resource and socially inclusive green economy, the only of its kind.

In addition to our technology, we also have the rights to the Titan Project, a critical mineral project covering approximately 11,000 acres in West Tennessee. Our approach to minerals extraction will be focused on implementing highly sustainable practices, so much so that we often compare it to farming, including a big emphasis on land reclamation. To this end, we have partnered with the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture to ensure we are leaving the land in a better state than how we found it.

The combination of our technology and our Titan Project allows the potential for IperionX to reshore the entire mineral-to-metal titanium supply chain in the United States, with the intent of making low-cost, low-carbon titanium accessible to be used in a wide range of industries, including automobiles, medical devices, electronics as well as aerospace and defense.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I was pretty young when I had to hire my first CEO. I knew whom I wanted, but I also knew I had to make the case as to why he should build this company with me. So, I took him for drinks and sold him on the job. I thought it went great. When it came time to pay the bill, my credit card was declined. I was out of money. I had to ask him to pay for our tab. I learned that dreaming big pays off, and to always carry cash.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I have been very lucky to have incredible mentors. When I was just starting out, the owner of the Investment Bank I was working at took me under his wing and showed me a lot about what it meant to be a business professional and leader. I was able to see how successful businesses were from the top. It was a unique perspective that I certainly do not take for granted. These mentors and others were able to grow my network quickly. All of these professionals taught me a lot about building professional relationships that have helped me in all aspects of my life. I was a very persistent young professional and when I saw opportunities, I impressed people whom I wanted to learn from. I worked hard and tried to impress my mentors. That’s what helped me grow. Even today, after founding several successful companies, I still turn to my mentors to talk about business strategy, operations, and even my personal life.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

When you disrupt an industry and the result is better for society, that would be a positive disruption… but when the outcome has detrimental effects, I would consider that a not-so-positive disruption to an industry.

This reminds of an interview Jon Sylvan once had with The Atlantic regarding his invention of K-Cups. His invention completely changed the coffee industry and since then, billions of these single-use coffee pods have filled our landfills.

I wholeheartedly believe our company is going to be a positive disruption in the metals industry. Many people do not know this, but the traditional way titanium is made, the Kroll Process, is very bad for the environment. It is dirty and expensive. With our HAMR technology, we will be offering an alternative that is not only more affordable but also sustainable.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Exceed people’s expectations. Jump into the deep end and learn to swim. When you impress people and build relationships with them, they will be there to make sure you don’t sink.

“Buy low, sell high” was originally a statement that I thought was crazy. But now I see how it’s great. It’s risky moving into an area that’s new or doesn’t have a lot of competition. But as you work to build it up others will take notice and if you want to sell, then is the time. Always look to run toward opportunity especially when no one else is there.

Know when you are wrong. That’s easier said than done when you’re trying to build something. But if you are learning and growing, that’s part of the process. And knowing how to fail means you can recover faster.

Listen to anyone and everyone who will talk to you. My dad taught me that everyone has something to say. By listening to people in all walks of life you learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses. You get to decide whom you listen to and who really knows what they’re talking about and whether it’s worth taking their advice.

It’s okay to be told no. Someone, eventually, the harder you work, will say yes.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I believe we are on the cusp of the age of titanium. Right now, titanium is seen as a luxury metal, but we have the opportunity to make this metal more common in our everyday lives. And what a world of difference it could make.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” by Abraham Lincoln. I don’t let myself procrastinate, and I try to get stuff done early.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Recycle. If we can properly get rid of plastic, it would do a lot of good. There’s no sense in seeing garbage all over city streets and trash cans flowing over. We must care more about the environment. It’s a massive issue and it’s only going to get worse. We can have a positive impact.

How can our readers follow you online?

Twitter: @IperionX

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/taso-arima-26315658/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/iperionx

Facebook: https:www.facebook.com/iperionx

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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Fotis Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Passionate about bringing emerging technologies to the market