Andromeda Metals Limited (ASX: AND) has entered into an exclusivity MoU with AEM Technologies Inc, part of the Advanced Energy Minerals group (AEM), to explore a joint technical and commercial development under which ADN can access AEM’s patented process to construct a facility to produce high purity alumina (HPA) using ADN kaolin.
AEM is a global leader in HPA and operates a HPA plant in Canada capable of producing HPA at 4N (99.99%) and 5N (99.999%) purity. It has advanced plans for a HPA plant in the UK which will provide a template for a potential Andromeda HPA plant in Australia.
AEM’s Cap Chat HPA Process Plant, located in Quebec Canada, uses its patented process to make 99.99% (4N) and 99.999% (5N) pure high purity alumina. With proven technology and extensive patents, Cap Chat is recognised as environmentally friendly with its focus on reducing reagent consumption and transitioning to a near “zero carbon emission” energy consumption plant.
The facility is the only one globally that is capable of producing 4/5N HPA from a kaolin feed. Having commissioned the plant in 2020, AEM is now in offtake discussions with potential customers around the world.
The MoU signed with AEM will see kaolin samples evaluated using the AEM proven process to determine its suitability for HPA manufacture, and potentially lead to the construction by Andromeda of a HPA plant under a licencing agreement with AEM, which could also include the marketing of HPA manufactured product by ADN through AEM’s global distribution network.
AEM CEO, Julian Ford, said access to Andromeda Metals’ high quality kaolin projects will help AEM in its goal to be the preferred supplier of HPA to the world’s new Electric Vehicle’s Lithium-Ion Battery (EV-LIB) giga-factories and global LED manufacturers.
Andromeda’s Managing Director, James Marsh, said the company has known for some time that its kaolin feed was a premium material for HPA production.
“.. but we have taken our time in order to be extremely thorough in identifying the right partner to drive this opportunity forward.
“Andromeda considers that having access to proven commercial technology in this sector will allow us to fastrack this HPA opportunity towards commercialisation,” he said.
In February 2019, Andromeda announced results from a third round of enhanced HPA metallurgical testwork of halloysite-kaolin from the Great White Project (75% owned) after testing had shown that 4N (99.99%) purity could be achieved with only one stage of purification, thus confirming it to be a truly world class feed material for HPA production.
Round One preliminary testing carried out by Bureau Veritas, UniSA and the University of Newcastle had already achieved a purity of 99.9855% from an over-refined sample where impurities had been introduced.
A Second-Round of testing conducted by Perth based BHM Process Consultants used a more suitable halloysite-kaolin sample and gave an Al2O3 purity of 99.9946% with only a single stage of purification
The Third Round of testing announced in February 2019 was undertaken to confirm that the single stage purification result was repeatable, and to also determine if even higher levels of purity were possible. Results from this additional testwork confirmed that producing 4N HPA from a single stage purification process is fully achievable and repeatable when using ADN’s high-purity halloysite-kaolin as a feed.