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ChemX on cusp of “100-fold” HPA production jump


ChemX Materials’ process engineer Syed Zaidi, left, and operations manager Russell Vallis holding the Australian patent within the company’s HiPurA pilot plant facility. Credit: File.

ChemX Materials (ASX: CMX) says it is on the cusp of producing high-purity alumina (HPA) at scale using its patented “HiPurA” processing technology at its 24-tonne per year pilot plant south of Perth in Western Australia.


The company has already achieved 1kg per day production at 99.99 per cent purity (known as “4N”) at microplant scale and is planning to boost that number to a daily 100kg in a new pilot operation – a 100-fold increase.


Bulls N’ Bears understands the next milestone in the pilot plant is now just weeks away, with management indicating that early-stage commissioning will likely be completed next month ahead of the production ramp-up to 100kg a day nameplate capacity in the September quarter.


ChemX says one of its main drivers is to get HPA samples to customers for qualification testing as the search for offtake partners heats up. Recent presentations at the Interbattery Conference in Korea and the Tribeca Resources Connect Asia Conference in Singapore garnered significant interest from potential partners for HPA as consumer demand for advanced electronics and clean energy technologies grows.


Australian east coast investors were also given a look at the company’s work earlier this month at a national investor roadshow designed to support its latest share purchase plan. That plan raised $297,000 to prop up a $1.053 million commitment by sophisticated investors.


The company is buoyed by the recent cash injection, which it says will be poured into the pilot plant in an effort to get sample HPA to those potential offtake partners as quickly as possible.


I am extremely proud of how hard the team has been working towards our target for early-stage commissioning in coming months. The next 12 months will be an exciting journey for ChemX, as we pursue our ambition to become a leading supplier of high-purity alumina to the advanced tech and clean energy technology markets. ChemX Materials chief executive officer Peter Lee.

The Korean link is an interesting development for the company as that country is a major player in the battery and semiconductor market – accounting for 26 per cent of global electric vehicle manufacturing and ranking second in semiconductor production.


Following the pilot stage, ChemX is planning to make a further upgrade to its processing power and commission a commercial plant, with the option of licensing the HiPurA technology to end-users. HiPurA is a modular system that utilises readily-available aluminous industrial chemicals rather than mining feedstock, allowing fast construction time.


In a nutshell, the technology has the potential to spit out super-pure 5N HPA, in addition to battery cathode precursor-grade aluminium salts and boehmite – an effective fire retardant. A key point of difference for HiPurA is that it does not require feedstock from a mine, just a source of aluminium chemicals and it is carried out at ambient pressure.


HPA is widely applied as the coating on battery separators, known as ceramic separators, in lithium batteries powering electric vehicles (EVs). The role of the separator is to keep the anode and cathode apart,as touching can lead to short-circuiting and fire.


HPA coatings allow the separators to maintain integrity to about 250℃, giving other battery cooling processes time to take effect in the event of overheating.


As the prospect of nameplate pilot plant capacity looms, ChemX seems poised to feed the hungry battery market with a critical piece of the global puzzle.


Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: office@bullsnbears.com.au

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