ABx’s new pilot batch reactor begins operations

ABx Group (ASX:ABX) has officially commissioned its new ‘state-of-the-art’ bath pilot batch reactor at its 83% owned subsidiary ALCORE’s technology centre in New South Wales. 

With the reactor now operational, the first results on its performance and bath process yield are expected in December 2023. 

The reactor has been designed for the recovery of fluoride from ‘excess bath’ 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. 

ABx, which has a market capitalisation of $16.47 million, says the initial reactor operations processed excess bath using modified process conditions to provide greater safety and certainty that the reactor will perform as expected. 

The first run demonstrated the potential of the reactor, with operations proceeding without issue and hydrogen fluoride produced. 

Following the hydrogen fluoride production, ABx conducted a hazard and operability (HAZOP) study, which reviewed all of the processes undertaken throughout the operations. This was to ensure the safety and efficacy of the reactor operations. 

ABx Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Cooksey says the commissioning of the reactor, alongside the production of hydrogen fluoride from excess bath, is a ‘fantastic’ result for ALCORE. 

“While using modified conditions, these results provide the technical validation required to proceed with further processing activities. 

Processing of bath using our new reactor will provide important data on our ability to produce greater yields, at roughly ten times the scale of our smaller laboratory reactor, where much of our work has been focused to date. 

“Results from this new reactor are expected to provide more robust data which will be used to eventually scale-up operations to a continuous pilot plant and first commercial plant”

Results from this new reactor are expected to provide more robust data which will be used to eventually scale-up operations to a continuous pilot plant and first commercial plant.”

ABx Group is a high-tech Australian company focused on the creation of an ionic absorption clay rare earth project in northern Tasmania and establishing a plant to produce hydrogen fluoride and aluminium fluoride from recycled industrial waste. 

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $6.87 million cash at hand, according to its latest quarterly report.

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au 

Images: ABx Group
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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.