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Alpha HPA to produce first synthetic sapphire

Manufacturing News

Downstream mineral processor Alpha HPA has announced that its plans to construct Australia’s first growth facilities for synthetic sapphire used in high technology industries are advancing at Gladstone in Queensland.

The company is commercialising sapphire production utilising the Austrian Ebner-Fametec sapphire growth technology utilising Alpha’s high purity alumina feedstock.

Sapphire glass is ultra-pure glass used in a range of optical devices and for the screens of mobile phones.

Alpha told investors that the support infrastructure and utilities for the first two synthetic sapphire growth units (pictured) was complete and ready for commissioning.

The synthetic sapphire framing and furnace bodies have also arrived on site and are being installed.

Alpha’s Managing Director Rimas Kairaitis said: “We are pleased with the progress of the Alpha Sapphire business as we progress to manufacture our first synthetic sapphire in Australia, the first exciting step to establishing the sovereign, high value downstream sapphire capacity to supply key high technology markets.

“We are focused on capturing this unique opportunity with funding in place to scale rapidly into sapphire growth to meet the expected demand from the adoption (of) mini-LED and micro-LED displays and the ability to supply sapphire sourced from a secure jurisdiction, grown with renewable power and fed with our own low-carbon HPA feedstock.”

Alpha is investing $300 million to develop an HPA production plant in Gladstone supported by a $21 million Queensland government grant.

HPA is used in lithium ion batteries to improve the batteries’ performance, reliability and safety and in the manufacture of LED lights and semiconductors.

In October the company announced it had produced 2,000 tonnes of aluminium nitrate battery anode precursor to date and 200 tonnes at 5N or 99.99 percent purity Al-nitrate.

Alpha said that Ebner-Fametec had produced 99.999 percent purity sapphire with good colourand low imperfections.

“This is a strongly encouraging result.”

Further reading:
Alpha HPA to develop $300m Gladstone high purity alumina plant
Alpha HPA battery anode plant nears completion

Picture: Alpha HPA/sapphire grower shells

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