04/01/2022 - 16:20

King River makes further inroads with battery tech

04/01/2022 - 16:20

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King River Resources has shored up its high purity aluminium precursor compounds in a bid to supply the increasing demand from the lithium-ion battery industry. A fourth run through of the company’s proprietary “ARC” processing technology using its newly commissioned pilot plant has now surpassed original expectations consistently creating a “Type 1” precursor aluminium salt grading exceeding an incredible 99.999 per cent purity.

King River makes further inroads with battery tech
High Purity Alumina produced by King River Resources. Credit: File

ASX-listed King River Resources has shored up its high purity aluminium precursor compounds in a bid to supply the increasing demand from the lithium-ion battery industry. A fourth run through of the company’s proprietary “ARC” processing technology using its newly commissioned pilot plant has now surpassed original expectations consistently creating a “Type 1” precursor aluminium salt grading exceeding an incredible 99.999 per cent purity.

The laboratory pilot plant campaign was run by Source Certain International and was a repeat test of the process changes used in the previous trial where a superfluous stage in the Primary Crystallisation flowsheet was not used.

King River says the removal of the unnecessary processing step is a significant improvement and simplification to the process and may result in economic benefits from a reduction in water and energy consumption. The new process will be addressed and refined in the ongoing definitive feasibility study.

Results from the fourth trial were very similar to the third and yielded a Type 1 precursor that consisted of an aluminium salt of 5N purity. 5N purity essentially means that it is 99.999 per cent pure.

The aluminium salt produced is used in lithium-ion battery cathodes but can also be decomposed through a calcination process to create a 99.99 per cent pure high-purity alumina, or “HPA” that is a critical part of lithium-ion batteries.

HPA is considered a vital ingredient in electric vehicles where it is used to coat separators between the cathode and anode, or negative and positive charges, within lithium-ion batteries. It also has myriad other practical uses including in the manufacture of smartphone screens, LED lighting and wristwatch faces.

Additionally, King River has also been ticking away at developing and optimising its ore processing options for its Speewah vanadium project. It has engaged the Hydrometallurgy Research Group at Murdoch University to gain a greater understanding of and to develop suitable salt roasting processes for the optimal extraction of vanadium.

Recent research by global financial services giant, JP Morgan concluded that electric vehicle penetration into total global vehicle sales could lift from three per cent in 2020 to about 27 per cent by the end of the decade.

The rapid ‘electrification’ of the world economy has seen eye-watering  increases in the demand for all battery metals which are set to power this revolution. If King River can continue the string of solid results, it could find itself sitting in an enviable position to take advantage of the demand for HPA in batteries worldwide, particularly for processed materials outside of China.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

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