Alpha HPA moves closer to commercial production with stage 1 facility
Alpha HPA (ASX: A4N) is progressing the commissioning of a stage 1 precursor production facility in Queensland for 5N-purity aluminium nitrate.
The company is using a $15.5 million grant awarded under the state government’s critical minerals development program to install a small-scale commercial high purity alumina (HPA) circuit and expand the capability of the facility to include its entire product range.
All major equipment orders have been delivered and installed. Commissioning activities are now underway with a targeted year-end completion date.
Alpha has reported good progress on the commissioning of the rotary kiln and tunnel kiln calcination circuits which are now operating at a combined 30kg HPA production per day.
The HPA tablet sinter oven – a key item to accelerate production capacity of sapphire glass — has also arrived onsite and is undergoing installation and electrical connection.
Alpha plans to continue advancing production rates with the intention of maximising saleable HPA and providing tablet feedstock for the purposes of synthetic sapphire production by the Alpha Sapphire project in collaboration with European producer Ebner-Fametec.
Once commissioned, the facility will be able to accommodate up to 40 tonnes per year of additional HPA production capacity.
Stage 1 production
Stage 1 cumulative aluminium nitrate production has reached approximately 258t at a targeted 5N (99.999%) purity level.
To date, approximately 25t of aluminium nitrate has been despatched as test samples or converted to HPAs and alumina tri-hydrates for sales and test work orders.
Around 50% of aluminium nitrate production will be dedicated to conversion into HPA once the stage 1 circuit is fully commissioned.
The remainder is being allocated to sales once final contracts are confirmed.
Alpha said it would pause production activities over the Christmas and New Year period to allow for employee training of the newly-installed circuit.
Following multiple production qualification rounds, Alpha has delivered a 50kg order of its nano-HPA product to an undisclosed Japanese customer.
The product will be used to generate ultra-pure aluminium nitride as a key thermal interface material in semiconductors.
Alpha said it is a “demanding specification with attractive pricing” at more than $50/kg.
The order will facilitate a larger-scale production run which is expected to generate a multi-tonne order from 2025.
Definitive feasibility study
Alpha is in the final stages of a definitive feasibility study and financing arrangements for stage 2 of the high purity alumina project, representing the first commercial-scale implementation of its proprietary aluminium purification processing technology.
The study will incorporate an updated production profile and will be the final financial case for negotiation with project lenders.
Alpha and its advisors continue to progress a project finance debt facility to be jointly funded by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and Export Finance Australia.
The company is in the final stages of due diligence and approvals with lenders.