Pure Alumina on track to own world-leading process for high purity alumina
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Special Report: Pure Alumina (ASX: PUA) is on track to acquire one of the world’s most efficient and effective processes for making high purity alumina (HPA), according to the man who is poised to become the company’s new managing director, Scott Nichol.
Nichol is the founder and chief executive of Polar Sapphire, the Canada-based company which owns this world-leading HPA technology. Pure Alumina is now in the process of acquiring Polar Sapphire and, as part of the deal, Nichol will become Pure Alumina’s managing director.
The deal is a company-maker for Pure Alumina, setting it up to be one of the lowest-cost producers of premium grade 5N HPA in the world.
Demand for HPA, which is used in LED lighting, lithium-ion battery separators, mobile phone camera lenses and finger print readers and other high-technology applications, is expected to soar on the back of the rapid adoption of these technologies.
Polar Sapphire currently operates a pilot plant in Canada which until recently has generated sufficient quantities of HPA for growing customer sales as well as conduct ongoing product development.
In a video interview, Nichol says Polar Sapphire spent five years developing the equipment used in its HPA process.
“We have developed specific equipment which allows us to lower our cost and make our process simpler,” Nichol says.
“Because we start with a higher purity material, there are less steps in our process, which also allows us to decrease our capital costs.”
Nichol says one of the key advantages of the Polar Sapphire process is its ability to recycle the acid.
“Re-cycling the acid prevents emissions to the environment and significantly reduces the amount of energy and water used to make HPA,” he says.
“The cost of building a factory from our technology is significantly less because we have dramatically simplified the process for making HPA.
“This has other advantages. It’s decreased our variable cost for producing the alumina. It’s decreased the amount of time required to build the factory and get it into production as quickly as possible.”
Nichol says now is the right time for Polar Sapphire to commercialise its proven low cost HPA process to lock in growing HPA demand.
As part of its deal with Polar Sapphire, Pure Alumina is undertaking a $30 million capital raising. This will fund the purchase of Polar Sapphire, as well as the construction and commissioning of a commercial-size plant.
The plant is forecast to generate strong cashflow as Pure Alumina capitalises on the low cost and high quality HPA produced by this world-leading process.