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Altech bolsters battery IP with fresh patent bids

ASX-listed Altech Chemicals has set out to bolster the intellectual property of its silumina anodes battery materials technology and alumina coating process by filing an international application that allows it to file national submissions in up to 156 countries. It has also lodged patent tenders in the United States, Europe, China, Japan and Korea as it looks to protect its lucrative technology.

Altech’s coating process utilises silicone particles along with graphite to boost the endurance of lithium-ion batteries.

Importantly, those particles have been coated in high purity alumina using Altech’s proprietary process that produces lithium-ion battery anode materials with a 30 per cent higher retention capacity than existing anode materials.

The coating technology also serves as an artificial solid electrolyte interface driving down lithium leakage during each charge and discharge cycle whilst postponing battery capacity degradation over time.

According to the company, the key to the coating technology is to cover the silicone with high purity alumina that is made from a clay known as kaolin – a commodity that Altech has plenty of at its Meckering deposit about 135km east of Perth, Western Australia.

Kaolin from the deposit will be used as feedstock material for the company’s high purity alumina processing plant in Malaysia.

With the development and operation of a 4500 tonnes per annum processing plant in Johor, Malaysia now underway, Altech aims to be one of the world’s leading suppliers of 99.99 per cent pure or 4N, alumina.

Altech has so far finalised two stages of the HPA plants construction.

Recent drilling at the company’s second deposit, Kerrigan, about 20km south of Hyden in WA, delivered a “fresh” kaolin resource that lifted its current mineral resource estimate 47 per cent to 125 million tonnes at an ISO brightness of 85.2 per cent.

The program was initially completed to validate earlier drilling and collect samples for test work.

Altech says the feedstock required for its high purity alumina plant in Johor is currently being adequately fed by its fully owned Meckering deposit, that remarkably boasts a mine life of more than 250 years.

The Kerrigan project was developed as a separate standalone kaolin asset and given the company’s Malaysian facility is well-nourished, management has said it might sell off the operation if it gets an appealing offer.

Altech is also pressing ahead with a preliminary feasibility study, or “PFS” for a 10,000 tonne per annum high-purity alumina coating battery material plant in Saxony, Germany and says its initial estimates are “outstanding”, with a capital investment of US$95 million delivering an estimated pre-tax net present value of US$507 million.

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@wanews.com.au

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