ABx subsidiary ALCORE receives second $2.7 million instalment of Modern Manufacturing Initiative grant

ABx Group (ASX:ABX) reports its 83% owned subsidiary ALCORE has now received 75% of its allocated grant funding under the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).

The company has received the second $2.7 million instalment of the previously announced $7.5 million in grant funding under the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI), which is on a co-contribution basis and managed by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

The MMI has been established to assist Australian manufacturing projects commercialise and integrate with domestic and international value chains.

The grant is in support of ALCORE’s proposed $16.4 million aluminium bath recycling plant at Bell Bay, Tasmania (the stage one commercial plant) and also includes activities relating to the establishment of a pilot plant on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Receipt of further funds from the initiative provides continued recognition that the department remains satisfied with ALCORE’s advancements. ALCORE is developing a process to recover fluorine from ‘excess bath’ (an aluminium smelter waste) to produce hydrogen fluoride, with a later-stage commercial plant to further react the hydrogen fluoride to produce aluminium fluoride – a ‘high-value’ chemical essential for aluminium smelting.

Commenting on the receipt of further grant funding, ABx Group Managing Director and CEO Dr Mark Cooksey says: “Additional funding from the MMI is a positive development validating the important work that has been completed to date as well as providing further stimulus to accelerate activities.

This news comes at an important time for ALCORE, as the business has recently completed preliminary engineering design work for its pilot plant, and also made an order for an advanced laboratory reactor that will further enhance the processing of excess bath material”.

“Additional funding from the MMI is a positive development validating the important work that has been completed to date as well as providing further stimulus to accelerate activities”

Last week, Mining.com.au reported ALCORE had completed the preliminary engineering design phase for its rapidly advancing pilot facility and also ordered a significant  laboratory reactor.

ALCORE has been reacting sulfuric acid (oleum) with bath to recover fluorine at a laboratory-scale and with initial operating conditions identified, the pilot plant will seek to evaluate these conditions at greater scale.

The feed materials must be intimately mixed during the reaction to maximise the consumption of feed materials and quality of final products. These are important for process economics and customer acceptance.

ABx says earlier results at laboratory-scale were limited by extent of process mixing that could be achieved. In early 2023, ALCORE identified an international supplier that could manufacture a reactor which employs state-of-the-art technology to enhance process mixing, which is critical to achieving high fluorine yield.

Following further due diligence, the reactor technology has been determined to be highly advantageous for ALCORE with an order now placed.

Delivery at the ALCORE Technology Centre is anticipated to occur in Q3 CY2023.

Write to Adam Orlando at Mining.com.au

Images: ABx Group Ltd
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Written By Adam Orlando
Mining.com.au Editor-in-Chief Adam Orlando has more than 20 years’ experience in the media having held senior roles at various publications, including as Asia-Pacific Sector Head (Mining) at global newswire Acuris (formerly Mergermarket). Orlando has worked in newsrooms around the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Sydney.