Alumina manufacturer moves to Queensland

Photo: Alpha HPA

Alpha HPA, a $200 million advanced manufacturing business, will base its operations in Gladstone, Queensland, Queensland’s Minister for Manufacturing Cameron Dick announced on Tuesday. The company has also signed an MoU with Orica.

After considering two potential sites in Newcastle, New South Wales and Kwinana, Western Australia, Alpha HPA decided on Gladstone as the site for their high purity alumina industrial plant.

“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.” Dick said

Alpha HPA will now negotiate final purchase terms for the land with the state government.

“Our extensive infrastructure, industrial processing facilities and skilled workforce led Alpha HPA to select a 9.2 hectare site in the Gladstone State Development Area which is owned by the state government,” member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said.

“With the Port of Gladstone nearby and export-ready, and the proposed site located close to likely suppliers whose by-product will be used to extract the high purity alumina, it’s the ideal location.”

HPA is the pure form of aluminium oxide. HPA is the pre-cursor material for the manufacture of sapphire glass and ceramic coated Lithium-Ion-Battery separators. Its value derives from its physical properties of extreme hardness & chemical stability.

“The Gladstone site enables us to be within two kilometres 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,” Rimas Kairaitis from Alpha HPA said.

The chemical reagents will be recycled inside the HPA production process as a by-product, for sale back to the reagent supplier. The volume and nature of the by-product require the plant to be ideally located within 2 kilometres of a chemical counterpart, to allow for the reagents and by-product to be delivered by a pipeline in liquid form.

“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,” Kairaitis said.

“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.”