Gladstone to get $300 million high-purity alumina factory

Gladstone has secured a high-purity alumina plant with a predicted output of 10,000 tonnes annually, with planning approval from the Queensland government announced on Thursday and an opening scheduled for 2023.

“Alpha HPA looked at interstate locations in New South Wales and Western Australia but chose Queensland and the Gladstone [State Development Area] because of the facilities and access to key industry partners and infrastructure,” said the company’s managing director, Rimas Kairaitis.  

“We have already signed a memorandum of understanding with Orica, who are also located in the Gladstone SDA, for the supply and offtake of the chemical reagents we use to produce HPA.” 

Alpha HPA is commercialising a locally-developed proprietary solvent extraction and refining process, claimed to be more efficient and environmentally benign than other methods, the most common of which is hydrolysis of aluminium alkoxide (explained here).

Global demand for high purity alumina (HPA) market is roughly doubling in value every 5-7 years. The material is used for applications including coating for lithium ion batteries, in LED lights, and in scratch-resistant glass.

According to a statement from the Queensland government, the $300 million factory would create 120 new jobs and a new export industry for the state.

Gladstone MP and manufacturing minister Glenn Butcher said conditionally making a large, 9.2 hectare site available helped secure Alpha’s commitment, with the company also weighing up Newcastle and Kwinana as possible factory locations.

“The extensive infrastructure and port facilities in the Gladstone region, an established industrial sector and skilled workforce all helped attract Alpha HPA to the Gladstone,” he added in a statement.   

Main picture: Alpha HPA/pilot plant solvent extraction

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