Well-known for its vanadium and gold projects, King River Resources is making some serious headway into the high purity alumina, or ‘HPA’ space, hoping to cash in on Canberra’s addition of it to the Federal Government’s critical minerals list.
Strong demand is projected for HPA, driven by its critical role in the manufacture of LEDs – light emitting diodes – and lithium-ion batteries.
Allied Market Research valued the global HPA market at US$1.3 billion in 2019 and now expects it to hit US$4.8b by 2026 – with a spectacular compound annual growth rate of 20.7 per cent from 2020 to 2026.
The government has committed $200 million to its Critical Minerals Accelerator Initiative to support strategically significant projects at challenging points in their development.
King River Resources sees the government action as an opportunity to potentially access increased levels of funding and grants that were previously unavailable to the industry.
In terms of the company’s foray into the emerging HPA industry, management has decided to focus on emerging 4N HPA opportunities placing further work on its definitive feasibility study into the production of 5N HPA precursor products on hold.
The strategic pivot was inspired by recent market research and laboratory test work.
The company says, lab work by Source Certain International has advanced to define a new process route to make 4N HPA, modifying the initial process used to formulate the previous pre-feasibility study.
King River says the new process potentially provides a more economical and environmentally-friendly process route to the production of HPA.
In addition, market research into 4N HPA end-users revealed increasing demand for new supply from Australia, with supply requirements already exceeding the capacity of the current pilot plant, according to the company.
King River is now aiming to apply and refine the process to re-evaluate the pre-feasibility study design.
The company says engineering and financial modelling investigations are underway to modify and scale up the precursor plant design to match 4N purity HPA production to meet demand whilst minimising capital and operational expenditures.
With its 5N HPA precursor venture on hold, it says work done to date has provided an excellent foundation for understanding those, and other, costs associated with the project.
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