Australian Bauxite Limited (ABx) updated the market on the progress of its partially-owned subsidiary ALCORE Limited this week.
ABx said it has finished the preliminary design phase for its pilot plant facility in New South Wales and has begun progress on the detailed engineering design of the plant. Already settled is the plant’s plant capacity and general layout, comprehensive process flow, piping and instrumentation diagrams, raw material storage and waste management plans, process safety and control philosophies, and sizing of major equipment.
ALCORE has also ordered an advanced laboratory reactor to conduct enhanced processing of excess bath material. Currently the company has been reacting sulfuric acid with bath to recover fluorine at a laboratory-scale volume, and the new reactor will enable the firm to process excess bath at a greater scale.
The pilot plant will recover fluorine from excess bath to produce hydrogen fluoride, with a commercial plant planned later to distill hydrogen fluoride into highly-valuable aluminium fluoride.
ABx Group Managing Director and CEO Mark Cooksey said in a press release that he was happy at progress so far.
“It is exceptionally pleasing to see progress accelerating at ALCORE. The Company has the opportunity to solve an increasing waste issue for global aluminium smelters, while also producing a necessary smelting additive, which is not only high-value but, for many countries including Australia, is subject to significant supply risks.”
“The completion of the preliminary engineering design and order of a crucial laboratory bath reactor are two major milestones towards demonstrating the process at pilot scale,” he continued. “The pilot plant remains on track to be constructed by end CY2023.”
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.