ChemX greenlights construction of high purity alumina plant
ChemX Materials today announced its proceeding with construction of its HiPurA High Purity Alumina (HPA) Pilot Plant in Western Australia at a reduced tonnage capacity of 24tpa and reduced capital expenditure of $600,000.
HPA is a high-value critical material used in lithium-ion batteries as a coated ceramic separator, providing increased thermal insulation for improved safety, charging and performance.
Commissioning of the HPA Micro Plant began in November last year, and since then, the plant has now achieved its primary aim of process optimisation under continuous operating conditions – reducing the risk of scale-up which is common to hydrometallurgical processes. The data gathered proved valuable in the detailed design phase of the Pilot Plant.
As a result of this optimisation, ChemX Materials (ASX:CMX) has identified process improvements, which together with reduced tonnage capacity of 24tpa and a simplified design has reduced infrastructure costs, resulting in the capital expenditure reduction.
ChemX’s pilot plant is designed to produce sufficient High Purity Alumina (HPA) for 4N/5N customer qualification.
“The Micro Plant has proven extremely effective in delivering the data required to improve the design and optimise the operation of the Pilot Plant,” inventor of the HiPurA process Dr Nicholas Welham said.
“This has resulted in a significant reduction in capital costs and a reduction in reagent costs.
“Importantly, the resized pilot plant will still meet expected customer demand by producing sufficient product to complete qualification by battery separator makers, sapphire growers and other stakeholders,” Dr Welham said.
CMX expects the construction of the pilot plant to take approximately four months.
Following ramp-up and commissioning the HPA pilot plant will be run in intensive campaigns to produce the required volumes of HPA to meet customer qualification requirements and demonstrate 24/7 operation.
Once the pilot plant is operational, the micro plant will be reconfigured to allow investigation of the production of products of higher purity, the initial targets being 5N HPA and aluminium salts for cathode production.
The company says the reduction in size will leave sufficient space within the present building envelope to accommodate a proposed pilot plant to produce high purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) from its South Australian deposit, allowing the synergies and cost savings of shared infrastructure.
ChemX is the box seat with its scalable and modular HPA Process to take advantage of opportunities created by the shift to having electric vehicle supply chains located in the same region as automotive producers, which have been brought about by the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
The ChemX design is intended to allow for production in volumes of around 2,000t pa, which allow ChemX to meet specific customer requirements and provide lower capex then incumbent process. As a chemical-based process, the ChemX team are not reliant on dedicated mine production allowing for swifter market entry and product acceptance with customers.
This article was developed in collaboration with ChemX Materials, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.