Battery chemical developer Pure Minerals (ASX: PM1) has revealed the potential to produce 99.99% high purity alumina as a co-product at the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project, with “outstanding economics”.
Pure Minerals’ wholly-owned subsidiary Queensland Pacific Metals undertook a scoping study after a pre-feasibility evaluation identified HPA could be a key value-add opportunity for the TECH project.
Further work was then undertaken in the scoping study, with aluminium hydroxide used as a feedstock.
The study estimates processing 9,920 tonnes per annum of aluminium hydroxide would generate 4,007tpa of 99.99% HPA.
Capital outlay to build this capacity into the project is estimated at $89.9 million, with annual revenue projected at $147.3 million to produce earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation of $129.2 million.
According to Pure Minerals, the scoping study has revealed lower capital and operating expenditure compared to other HPA project, because the starting point is aluminium hydroxide rather than aluminous clay or refined metal.
“The TECH project is becoming a one stop shop for battery manufacturers,” Pure Minerals managing director John Downie said.
“Nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and HPA are key chemicals required by the battery industry and our potential ability to supply meaningful quantities of all these products will increase our appeal as a supplier to battery manufacturers.”
HPA in batteries
HPA is increasingly used to create ceramic-coated separators in lithium-ion batteries. The material separates anode and cathode in the battery to increase thermal stability and enhance impedance, which allows for high power capability.
The HPA-coated separators can also improve the battery life cycle and decrease self-discharge.
Advantages to Pure Minerals’ HPA
Mr Downie said the company’s TECH project had two “key advantages” over other potential HPA suppliers.
“Firstly, by starting with an advanced intermediate product in the form of aluminium hydroxide, our capital and operating costs are significantly lower.”
“Secondly, the TECH project will be protected from any significant volatility in the HPA market due to revenue derived from its primary product streams,” he added.
Moving forward, Pure Minerals will update the current data into a pre-feasibility study, which will be incorporated with the overall project pre-feasibility study released in December last year.