Altech Chemicals Limited, Subiaco, Australia, (ASX: ATC) (FRA: A3Y) has provided an update on the progress of the pre-feasibility study (PFS) for construction of a battery materials high purity alumina coating plant in Saxony, Germany. The PFS is being carried out by Altech’s 75% owned German subsidiary, Altech Industries Germany GmbH (AIG).
PFS work is progressing rapidly and as planned. The following activities have now been completed:
• A due diligence review of the existing environmental and site conditions at the proposed Schwarze Pumpe site by a local environmental consultant. The review confirmed the suitability of the site for plant development with no issues identified. The German consultant outlined the requirements for plant permitting, and the applicable environmental regulations which the plant will be designed to meet. All requirements are as expected and as such are not anticipated to present any difficulties to satisfy during plant design.
• Potential suppliers for utilities and raw materials have been identified and input pricing for these and other key plant operating costs have been obtained.
• An assessment of the local labour market and the related employee remuneration and on-costs has been completed.
• Electrical infrastructure, piping materials and potential construction services suppliers have been shortlisted and commissioned to provide proposals. In addition, discussions have commenced with numerous potential process equipment suppliers to determine pricing and supply lead times.
Battery Materials Coating
The battery material coating process consists of four stages (see Figure 1). Stage 1 is a HPA precursor production step using an alternative aluminium feedstock. For the PFS it will be assumed that the HPA precursor would ultimately be supplied from Altech’s HPA plant in Johor, Malaysia once operational. The option for an alternate initial precursor supply would allow the coating plant to have a development timeframe that is independent of Johor.
Stage 2 of the process is the receival of the anode battery material (graphite or silicon) in bulk bags or drums. The next step is the HPA nano layer coating process which will take place in the coating section of the plant – this is the proprietary technology that Altech has developed. The last stage in the process is finalisation of the coated material, which is then packaged in either bulk bags or drums for shipment to end users.
The lay-out of the proposed coating plant at the proposed site, the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park in Saxony, Germany will be such that it would allow for the construction of additional materials coating capacity in the future, such as a silicon coating plant and/or additional graphite coating capacity. The PFS will assume the use of 100% renewable power from the local grid with some minor on-site solar generation for buildings. The design will target green project status. It is planned that once the PFS is completed, the project will be assessed for green accreditation by the Centre of International Climate and Environmental Research (CICERO), Norway.
Site for R&D activities secured at the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park
AIG recently secured office space at the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park (via a 3-year lease), plus AIG has rented 2 bays within a 12 bay warehouse that is adjoining the office space, where it intends to conduct various battery materials research and development activities. The office and proposed R&D site are located immediately next to the ~14 hectare site at Schwarze Pumpe that AIG has an option to acquire, and where a battery materials coating plant would be located – subject to the outcome of the current PFS and a definitive feasibility study. The office and proposed R&D site will have sufficient space for feasibility, testing and engineering work to be carried out. Also, any future potential pilot or demonstration plant for battery materials coating could be accommodated within the R&D site.
Extension of option to purchase site agreement
AIG executed an option to purchase agreement for a ~14 hectare industrial site within the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park, municipality of Spreetal, Saxony in June 2020. The agreement provides AIG with an initial 12- month term during which it can exercise its purchase option, with the ability to extend the option period for a further 12-months via mutual consent. Both parties have now agreed to extend the option period by a further 12-months. Altech’s managing director, Iggy Tan said “Progress on the pre-feasibility study is progress well and meeting all expectations. We are very pleased with the support and encouragement for the study and AIG’s proposed activities that has been received from the Schwarze Pumpe Industrial Park management and the local municipality of Spreetal” he said.