Altech inches closer to HPA production in Malaysia

Altech Chemicals is inching closer to production of high-purity alumina after completing Stage 1 of construction at its HPA plant in Malaysia, both on time and budget.

The company is now progressing Stage 2, which includes the development of an on-site electrical substation for the sizeable processing facility.

Altech is looking to produce up to 4,500 tonnes a year of high-purity alumina sourced from pure kaolin clays mined from an open pit operation near Meckering in WA.

The final site inspection of the works was recently carried out by Altech with no defects or significant items identified for further rectification, management said this week.

The substation structure is expected to kick off in earnest during November, once various off-site fabrication works are complete, the company said.

Stage 1 handover items included a large maintenance workshop building, all site retaining walls and the installation of on-site detention stormwater tanks at the rear of the plant site.

Stage 2 engineering continues to progress with the EPC contractor, SMS group having already placed orders with various vendors covering about 50% of the long lead items for the processing facility.

The Stage 1 construction of the plant started in February and was carried out by Metix, the wholly-owned South African subsidiary of SMS group.

Altech’s Meckering deposit has a current JORC resource of 12.7 million tonnes grading 29.5% alumina, which is sufficient to support a staggering mine life of some 250 years at the expected throughput rate.

This includes a measured and indicated resources of 4.8 million tonnes grading 30% alumina and the deposit has less than 1% impurities such as iron, potassium and sodium.

HPA is utilised in high tech applications such as LED lighting, advanced mobile phones and as a separator in lithium-ion batteries to improve both safety and performance, amongst other things.

According to Navigant Research, HPA demand is expected to hit 86,831 tonnes per annum in 2024, up 153% from 2018.


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