High purity alumina pioneer, Altech Chemicals, could take the global electronics sector by storm once its HPA product starts being used to help dissipate heat in semi-conductors. The enterprising ASX listed outfit, which plans to mine aluminous clays in WA before sending it to Malaysia for processing, could see its niche mineral used in the production of epoxy moulding compounds employed by the semi-conductor industry to improve heat dissipation.
High purity alumina pioneer, Altech Chemicals, may well be set to take the global electronics sector by storm once its high purity alumina, or “HPA”, product starts being used to help dissipate heat in semi-conductors.
The enterprising ASX listed company is looking to provide its HPA product for the production of epoxy moulding compounds, or EMCs, that are used by the semi-conductor industry to improve heat dissipation.
Altech’s preliminary investigation into the EMC semi-conductor sector’s appetite for high quality HPA points to a market size of between 700 and 900 tonnes per annum, with a price of US$100 per kilogram.
Importantly, year-on-year growth in this niche market typically remains in line with that enjoyed by semi-conductor producers.
Altech is now confident that its low sodium HPA product- with its unique morphologies of crystal form, shape and structure - is ideal for EMC semi-conductor applications.
The company is planning to start developing a product specification suitable for this lucrative market.
Management said it wanted to become one of the world's leading suppliers of 99.99% high purity alumina through the construction and operation of a 4,500tpa processing plant in southern Malaysia.
Aluminous clay will be mined at Altech’s wholly-owned kaolin deposit near Meckering in its home state of Western Australia before being shipped to its processing facility within the Tanjung Langsat industrial complex near Johor Bahru.
Both sites are fully permitted and construction on the HPA plant has started, with giant German engineering firm, SMS Group, being appointed as EPC contractor with a USD$280 million fixed price turnkey contract.
Meanwhile, Altech has entered into an off-take sales agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation’s Australian subsidiary, Mitsubishi Australia Ltd, for the first 10 years’ of its HPA production
According to a report published earlier this year by Independent Investment Research, the Malaysian plant still has plenty of upside, with a capacity to produce up to 6,000tpa of HPA through increased processing efficiencies and head grade.
Altech said traditional epoxy resins for semi-conductors were reaching their limits in terms of effective heat dissipation.
However, by adding thermally conductive materials into the resins, heat dissipation was improved, thereby boosting the protection of semi-conductors against heat-related failures.
Whilst the thermally conductive fillers currently being used include HPA, crystalline silica, and magnesium oxide, HPA is preferred due to its heat conductivity according to Altech.
HPA is now being used by lithium-ion battery manufacturers as the coating on the battery separators, which improves battery performance, longevity and safety. Whilst global HPA demand was around 19,000t in 2018, Altech is confident this will grow at a whopping compound annual growth rate of 30% from 2018-2028.
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