Feb 11, 2020

Gladstone earmarked for $200m alumina plant

Gladstone earmarked for $200m alumina plant

Gladstone has been chosen as the site for a $200 million high-purity alumina industrial plant.

The HPA First Project would take reagents via pipeline from the local Orica plant and sell back by-product under an agreement announced yesterday.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said Gladstone had been selected as the location for the Alpha HPA plant over potential sites in Newcastle, New South Wales and Kwinana, Western Australia.

“This is a great opportunity for Gladstone,” Mr Dick said.

“Delivery of this project would support around 100 new jobs in a new emerging industry with global demand.

“High purity alumina is a rapidly-growing market, being fuelled by the rising demand for high-technology items, such as lithium-ion battery separators used in electric vehicles, particularly in China and Europe.”

It comes just days after Townsville battery metals hub proponent Pure Minerals announced outstanding economic results from a scoping study into production of high purity alumina (HPA) from its project. 

MOU for Orica offtake

Alpha HPA managing director Rimas Kairaitis said it was an exciting time for the Australian company as it progressed from a pilot plant to a large-scale advanced manufacturing business.

“The Gladstone site enables us to be within 2km of Orica, who we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with to be our supplier of key process reagents and the offtake of the by-product for the project, creating a circular economy process,” he said.

“A successful pilot plant has been operating in Brisbane, since July 2019, and using a low-cost extraction process we are producing around 3kg daily of >99.99 per cent pure alumina.

“We believe there is building global demand for our high purity alumina, with circa 70 lithium ion battery mega-factories under construction across four continents to meet the electric vehicle demand.”

Details within the MOU provide the final operating cost inputs for Alpha HPA’s definitive feasibility study, which is expected to be delivered next month.

The 9.2ha site earmarked in Gladstone is in the Gladstone State Development Area. Alpha HPA will now negotiate final purchase terms for the land with the State Government.