Australian Bauxite Limited (ABx) said today its wholly-owned subsidiary ALCORE Limited has achieved the next major milestone on the road to commercial production and sale of aluminium fluoride (AlF3), namely the small-scale production of AlF3 at its research facilities.
ABx says lab production of AlF3 represent several accomplishments important for commercial production. Firstly it demonstrates the company’s capability of producing AlF3 from aluminium oxides found in raw bauxite ore. ABx says it is also now capable of extracting valuable silicon oxides from bauxite ore by manipulating the reagent mix and processing conditions, and it can now extract valuable titanium oxide as well by altering drying and heating conditions. Finally, ABx notes ALCORE’s capability of producing a metallurgical coal substitute Corethane as a by-product of its production of AlF3.
“The ALCORE Research Centre has created a leading-edge laboratory with the highest standards of safety, equipment and technology,” explained ABx CEO, Ian Levy. “Exciting enhancements of the technology have already been achieved. The mini-production plant at the ALCORE Research Centre will supply test samples to our three prospective aluminium-producing customers.”
“ALCORE’s work can lead to Australia’s first production of AlF3 products to provide security of supply for Australasian aluminium smelters. ALCORE’s production of Corethane gas-substitute hydrocarbon can change the energy supply and fuel security outlook. Its short-term focus is on supplying a cleaner form of metallurgical reductants for reducing costs and emissions in manufacturing in eastern Australia.”
“ABx is also progressing its 3 core bauxite projects; the Tasmanian mine, the large Binjour Project in central QLD and the Penrose refractory bauxite project 90km inland of Port Kembla NSW,” Levy concluded. “Bulk sampling and processing testwork at the Binjour Project that was interrupted by rain is being completed in coming weeks.”
Though small-scale production of AlF3 is an important milestone, several more hurdles remain for ABx, including proving to investors its ability to make AlF3 on a larger scale for commercial production, extracting AlF3 from economically-attractive waste material, and reducing ash content in Corethane to less than 1 percent to facilitate its use in heat and power generation.
Based in Sydney, ABx conducts operations in Tasmania, Queensland, and New South Wales. The firm boasts combined JORC resources of 124 million metric tons in twenty-two tenements covering almost two thousand square kilometers in Eastern Australia. Its Binjour tenement in Queensland is considered by the company to be its flagship project.