Suvo’s White Cloud kaolin project boosted by HPA testwork success
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Suvo could soon tap into the growing demand for high-purity alumina after test work on White Cloud ore successfully produced HPA with a purity of 99.99% (4N).
The preliminary test work was conducted by Beijing General Research Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (BGRIMM) laboratories in China and further work is now underway to achieve an even higher 99.999% (5N) purity HPA.
Global demand for HPA is increasing due to its use as a coating for separators that keep apart lithium-ion battery cathode and anode electrodes to improve safety and performance.
This is best highlighted by battery electric vehicles, which can use about 5kg of HPA each.
Suvo Strategic Metals (ASX:SUV) believes it has a competitive advantage in the production of this in demand product thanks to the very high levels (+38%) of aluminium oxide (AI2O3) and low impurities in the feedstock sourced from its wholly-owned White Cloud project north of Perth.
With current estimates of global HPA pricing ranging between US$15,000 to US$30,000 per tonne for 4N HPA and between US$40,000 to US$50,000 per tonne for 5N HPA, this is potentially very lucrative for the company.
The company will now investigate the commissioning of a pilot plant along with evaluating new addressable markets and offtake partners through its research and development subsidiary Suvo Minerals Technology.
“This is truly an outstanding result. Partnering with one of the world leaders in R&D for HPA, BGRIMM, has placed our company in a fantastic position to potentially enter this exciting new space,” executive chairman Robert Martin.
“With the global demand for HPA powder increasing rapidly due to its use as a key input to lithium-ion battery separators, we see achieving 4N purity as a huge milestone for the company and the first step in reaching our goal of 5N purity.
“The test work highlights the advantages we have by starting with extremely high grade feedstocks and we now look forward to updating the market as we complete testing on 5N purity, address prospective raw feedstock partners and finalise investigations into a potential pilot plant”.
Besides its use in battery separators, HPA is also critical for modern day devices and components such as LED lights, semiconductors and smartphone components.
Its strong demand and high value makes it one of the cornerstone drivers for the development of the White Cloud project in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region.
White Cloud has an overall resource of 72.5 million tonnes of bright white kaolinised granite with a yield of 41.2 per cent, or 29.9Mt of kaolin.
The high-grade kaolin refined from this ore is Suvo’s (not so) secret weapon to break into the HPA market given that its grade of 38.43% AI2O3 compares very favourably with other refined kaolin products, which range from 27% to 37% AI2O3.
Its low levels of impurities just add to its suitability to meet HPA demand.
This article was developed in collaboration with Suvo Strategic Metals, 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.