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Altech secures vital HPA production patent

Altech Chemicals has sewn up protection for its proprietary eight-step process for the production of high purity alumina from kaolin after it was recently granted an Australian patent.

The certificate of grant for an innovation patent from the Australian Patent Office covers the production of alumina from all types of aluminous clay including kaolin, using hydrochloric acid.

Notably, it acknowledges that Altech’s process for producing HPA from aluminous materials such as kaolin is unique.

Altech Managing Director Iggy Tan said: “The journey to patent grant was quite arduous. We commenced the process in 2014 and have now received the certificate of grant - 4 years later. The patent will help protect the company’s unique HPA production process and the technology that we have developed.”

“Now that this patent is granted, Altech is in a strong position to defend its intellectual property rights with the assistance of WRAYS, our patent attorney.”

The company has been making steady progress with its HPA project, which consists of a proposed Malaysian HPA plant and associated kaolin mine near Meckering in WA.

Last week, it said that due diligence on the proposed USD$90m mezzanine debt facility from a global investment bank and USD$60 million “stream” finance facility with a US-based global alternative investment group was expected to be completed by the end of November.

Senior debt provider, German Government-owned KfW IPEX-Bank, has already committed USD$190m for the HPA project.

Altech has also completed geotechnical drilling at the HPA site in Malaysia, allowing it to submit a site development order application to the local authorities.

Once the development order is approved, site earth works, drainage, foundation piling and the construction of a workshop building and of an electrical substation will commence.

The company proposes to produce up to 4,500 tonnes per annum of HPA at the plant, using high purity kaolin clays sourced from a shallow open pit mine near Meckering, just east of Perth in WA.

HPA is used in high tech applications such as LED lighting, as a separator in lithium-ion batteries and in advanced mobile phones.

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