Simbol Materials Appoints Materials Industry Leader Dr. John Burba as CEO

Burba brings decades of experience from Molycorp, FMC, Dow and Chevron to Simbol as it commercializes transformative minerals extraction technology

John L. Burba, Ph.D. (Photo: Business Wire)

PLEASANTON, Calif.--()--Simbol Materials, a US-based materials technology company, has appointed Dr. John Burba as President and CEO. The former Chief Technology Officer of Molycorp, Inc. will move the company forward with commercializing its proprietary mineral extraction technology, unlocking a vast untapped resource for lithium and other specialty materials from the mineral rich geothermal brines located in California.

Dr. Burba is a pioneer in lithium and other mineral extraction technologies, previously leading technology development and commercialization efforts at Dow Chemical Co., FMC, and Chevron Mining. Prior to joining Simbol Materials, Dr. Burba served as Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President of Molycorp where he was instrumental in identifying and developing numerous rare earths technologies. Most recently, Dr. Burba led Project Phoenix, one of the world’s largest rare earths manufacturing projects.

“I am excited about Simbol’s future. This company has the potential to transform the production of lithium and other high value specialty materials,” said Dr. John Burba, President and CEO of Simbol Materials. “By unlocking one of the world’s richest brine resources located in California’s Imperial Valley, the company is uniquely positioned to meet the world’s growing need for ultra-pure lithium and other specialty materials vital to sustainably power our future.”

“Dr. Burba brings the right kind of experience at the right time for Simbol Materials,” said Josh Green, Simbol Board Member. “He is ideally suited to guide the company on its path to commercialization.”

Joining Dr. Burba are Takashi Sunada as Simbol Materials Chief Financial Officer, and John F. Ashburn, Jr. as Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. Mr. Sunada’s career includes twenty-four years with Itochu Corporation where he held various leadership roles, most recently responsible for project development and management of project investments for the Chemicals Division focused on materials related to Lithium Ion Batteries.

Mr. Ashburn’s career includes over thirty-three years corporate legal experience including twenty-three years as Senior Counsel with Unocal and Chevron Corporation. Prior to joining Simbol Materials, Mr. Ashburn held the position of Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Molycorp, Inc.

These appointments follow a major milestone at the company’s demonstration plant with the production of battery grade lithium carbonate from the brine of an operating geothermal power plant, a world’s first. The company is targeting to break ground in 2014 with initial production of approximately 15,000 metric tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) to include both ultra-pure lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate.

About Simbol Materials

Simbol Materials answers the global call for high performance materials for the energy storage, agriculture, alloys, and other specialty materials applications. The company’s transformative technology leverages renewable energy to produce lithium, manganese, zinc, and other critical materials from geothermal brines in California’s mineral-rich Imperial Valley. Simbol Materials was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California with a demonstration plant in the Imperial Valley, California.


Simbol Materials
Takashi Sunada, CFO, 925-226-7425

Release Summary

Simbol Materials, a US-based materials technology company, has appointed Dr. John Burba as President and CEO. Joining Dr. Burba are Takashi Sunada as CFO and John F. Ashburn as VP and CLO.


Simbol Materials
Takashi Sunada, CFO, 925-226-7425