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Altech Chemicals’ high purity alumina (HPA) production process is now patent protected – and the company has warned fellow HPA hopefuls to take “extreme care” not to breach it.

Altech (ASX:ATC) finally has a patent for its “unique” process of producing HPA from kaolin clay, which it originally filed in October 2014.

Unlike existing global producers, ASX-listed companies all hope to produce HPA from an aluminous clay called kaolin, which results in lower production costs.

Altech enjoyed a small bump to its share price on the news – but more noticeable was the falling share prices of fellow ASX-listed HPA companies FYI Resources (ASX:FYI) down almost 7 per cent, Hill End Gold (ASX:HEG) down 4.48 per cent,  Andromeda Metals (ASX:AND) down 14.2 per cent, and Collerina Cobalt (ASX:CLL) down 2 per cent.

Altech boss Iggy Tan said potential new entrants into the HPA industry – that have publicised the proposed use of a process similar to Altech’s – will need to take extreme care.

“Over the past 18 months it has been quite frustrating to read a number public announcements from other companies, aiming to be HPA producers, that have included HPA process flow diagrams that appeared to be blatant copies of Altech’s process – some even using the same unique icons developed by the company,” he said.

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

Hill End Gold, Andromeda, and FYI Resources couldn’t be reached by Stockhead for comment prior to publication.

Demand for HPA — a critical safety material in lithium batteries — is expected to grow dramatically as battery component makers invest in new production capacity.

One of its fastest growing applications is coating the separators that keep apart the cathode and anode electrodes in a lithium battery  to prevent explosions.