Australian innovator Altech Chemicals Ltd. updated investors on the progress of construction at its high-purity alumina (HPA) site in Johor, Malaysia, which has recommenced in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The firm said construction was halted for a month by the Malaysian government on March 18 in an effort at slowing the spread of COVID-19. As the virus continued to spread, the Malaysian government extended the stoppage several times, most recently through next Tuesday. However, the government has chosen to relax the order as well, allowing for pre-approved exceptions on the condition that health guidelines intended to stop the spread of the virus were scrupulously followed.
Altech applied for a pre-approved exception, which the government granted earlier this month. The firm has put into place the recommended precautions, including individual screening for COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. Coronavirus testing of the workforce was completed last week, and a final inspection by the state occurred as well.
Altech reports that construction is now underway, with workers picking up where they left off on the nearly-complete electrical substation. The firm says that the remaining work on the substation will be complete next month, followed by a recertification and final inspection prior to handover.
Altech Chemicals is based in Subiaco, Western Australia and is attempting to implement a marketable process for delivering 99.99% (4N) HPA using conventional equipment at a lower production cost than methods currently available. It plans to construct a 4,500 metric ton per annum HPA plant at Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex, Johor, Malaysia that will use kaolin clay from a company-owned mine in Meckering, Western Australia. The firm is fast-tracking HPA production due to an agreement with Mitsubishi for 100% of its proposed HPA production for ten years. At present, Altech intends to commence project development later this year.