Bold new tech at alumina plant slated for Gladstone
AN alumina plant slated for Gladstone is hoped to be in production by the end of 2022.
Alpha HPA general manager Rimas Kairaitis said the plant would purify alumina using a method never used in Australia.
The process is based on Australian-owned and developed intellectual property aiming to deliver a product with higher purity at lower cost.
"We think it's very disruptive," Mr Kairaitis said of the technology's potential to upset the market's status quo.
Two separate markets will be targeted - sapphire glass used in LED lighting and smart phones and tablets, and a coating for use in lithium-ion batteries found in electric cars.
Mr Kairaitis considered the prospects for both as strong and was pleased with the timing of the project as the world moved toward low-carbon technologies.
Alpha HPA is doing a feasibility study and the purchase of land at the Gladstone State Development Area is being finalised with the State Government.
The company has been testing the refining technology in a pre-feasibility study and at a pilot plant program at a Brisbane lab since March last year.
Proximity to mining product manufacturer Orica was a key reason the Gladstone site was considered most attractive.
The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the supply of two chemical reagents required by the HPA project, and a by-product of the production process will be returned to Orica.
The ASX announcement of the MoU states that the volume and nature of the reagents and by-product require the project to be "ideally located with two kilometres of the counterparty (Orica), to allow for delivery by pipeline in liquid form".
Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said the project had the council's full support.
"The potential for high-purity alumina in future industry and manufacturing is obvious and Gladstone's local industry will be able to work together with Alpha HPA to capitalise on this," Cr Burnett said.
"This is a great example of industry diversification in Gladstone and (the) council is encouraging end users of this product to co-locate near the HPA plant."
The project is expected to create about 100 jobs.