Fluoride Action Network

Alcore proves economics

Source: Mining Weekly | By Esmarie Iannucci
Posted on November 18th, 2020
Location: Australia
Industry type: Aluminum Industry

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – An economic assessment of ASX-listed Australian Bauxite’s planned Alcore processing plant, has shown that it would land in the lowest cost quartile of global aluminium fluoride production.

Australia’s aluminium smelters are currently entirely reliant on imported aluminium fluoride, with more than 26 000 t imported from China alone over the past 12 months, at an average cost of $1 266/t.

Australian Bauxite’s subsidiary Alcore is planning to be the first domestic producer of aluminium fluoride, using a world-first process to produce aluminium fluoride from the recycling of aluminum smelter waste and from Australian Bauxite’s gibbsite-rich clean bauxite.

The company is planning to locate its facility in Bell Bay, Tasmania, and would start with a production module of 10 000 t/y, steadily constructing up to five production modules of the same size, and ultimately producing 50 000 t/y of aluminium fluoride.

Australian Bauxite said on Wednesday that the operating cost range for Alcore’s early years of production is estimated to be between $800/t and $950/t, compared with the operating cost of most global aluminum fluoride producers of between $1 000/t and $1 500/t.

The company noted that the cost advantage of fluoride from aluminium smelter waste allowed Alcore to begin low-risk commercial production, initially from aluminium hydroxide, before expanding to processing bauxite or aluminium-rich smelter waste, reducing costs.

“For the process selected for our first 10 000 t/y production module, we have demonstrated all of the key requirements at the laboratory scale. The updated economic assessment confirms that this is a very attractive project,” said Alcore CEO Mark Cooksey, adding that the company was now accelerating the engineering validation for the first production module.

The engineering validation is expected to confirm the process and product performance at a larger scale, and produce larger samples for evaluation by aluminium smelters. 

*Original article online at https://www.miningweekly.com/article/alcore-proves-economics-2020-11-18/rep_id:3650