Government’s move adds value for ABx

ABx Group (ASX:ABX) anticipates its 83% owned subsidiary ALCORE will access further support from the Australian government following its main focus, fluorine being added to the government’s critical minerals list. 

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Cooksey says it is ‘exciting’ to see fluorine being placed on the same footing as lithium and rare earths. 

“As a consequence, I anticipate ALCORE will be able to access further support from the government, in addition to the $7.5 million grant already received under the federal government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI).”

Cooksey says that Australia does not produce any fluorine currently and this shows the value of  ALCORE’s technology, which recycles an aluminium smelter waste into fluorine in the form of hydrogen fluoride. 

Fluorine is essential for the steelmaking and aluminium smelting processes, and for the production of renewable technologies such as solar PV cells and batteries. 

Despite Australia being the world’s fourth largest exporter of aluminium, the country produces zero fluorine and its smelters are entirely dependent on external sources of aluminium fluoride – primarily imports from China – to maintain smelting operations. ALCORE is progressing, using a ‘state-of-the-art’ reactor, to process an aluminium smelting waste product known as excess bath to recover fluorine to produce hydrogen fluoride. 

ABx notes later at commercial scale, a proportion of the hydrogen fluoride will be further processed via an existing commercial process to aluminium fluoride. 

Additionally, the Australian government has included aluminium in a new strategic materials list. These materials are important for the global transition to net zero and broader strategic applications, but their supply chains are not sufficiently vulnerable to meet the criteria for the critical minerals list.

The company says these materials are important for the global transition to net zero and broader strategic applications, but their supply chains are not sufficiently vulnerable to meet the criteria for the critical minerals list. 

ABx Group is an emerging Australian rare earths and bauxite explorer and hydrogen fluoride and aluminium fluoride producer.

As of 30 September 2023, the company had $6.896 million cash and cash equivalents at hand, according to its latest quarterly report. Post quarter-end, the company conducted a share purchase plan to raise up to $500,000.

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.