MMI funds world-first commercial aluminium smelter recycling plant

aluminium smelter

ABx Group Limited has announced that its subsidiary, ALCORE Limited (Alcore), has been granted $7.5 million from the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative to support its proposed $16.4 million aluminium smelter bath recycling plant in Bell Bay, Tasmania. 

The plant is tipped to be the world’s first commercial plant to recycle aluminium smelter bath into valuable chemicals. 

It is proposed that the plant will transform 1,600 tonnes per year of aluminium smelter bath into hydrogen fluoride and other industrial chemicals. Most of the hydrogen fluoride will be further processed to aluminium fluoride, an essential chemical for aluminium smelting, for which Australia currently imports 100 per cent of its requirements. 

Significantly, the project will establish a domestic supply of aluminium fluoride, which will protect the aluminium industry from supply chain disruptions. This will increase Australia’s manufacturing resilience and capability, while reducing dependence on international markets that have been increasingly subject to trade issues and shipping disruptions. 

Alcore’s plan for the long term is to expand the plant by 15 times, which will process all of Australia’s aluminium smelter bath, and supply more than 80 per cent of Australia’s aluminium fluoride requirements. 

ABx and Alcore CEO, Dr Mark Cooksey, said he was pleased that Alcore’s technology was being supported by the federal government. 

“We are eager to deliver our Tasmanian project as soon as possible, to increase the security of supply for Australian aluminium smelters and create highly skilled manufacturing jobs,” Cooksey said. 

“The production of aluminium fluoride from aluminium smelter bath is an exemplary illustration of the circular economy.”