Alpha HPA on top of Sapphire infrastructure

Alpha HPA’s (ASX:A4N) wholly owned subsidiary Alpha Sapphire has completed support infrastructure and utilities for the first two synthetic sapphire growth units at its high purity alumina facility in Gladstone, Queensland.

The $761.04 million market capitalisation company says the synthetic framing and furnace bodies have also arrived on site, with installation now underway. 

Alpha HPA says the most recent batch of crystal growth in Austrian-based sapphire growth units has assayed a greater than 5N (99.999%) purity by GDMS analysis. 

The company says this is a ‘strongly encouraging’ result, combined with the sapphire crystal’s good colour and low imperfections. 

Managing Director Rimas Kairaitis says: “We are very pleased with the progress of the Alpha Sapphire business as we progress to manufacture our first synthetic sapphire in Australia, the first exciting step to establishing the sovereign, high value downstream sapphire capacity to supply key high technology markets. 

We are focused on capturing this unique opportunity with funding in place to scale rapidly into sapphire growth to meet the expected demand from the adoption mini-LED and micro-LED displays and the ability to supply sapphire sourced from a secure jurisdiction, grown with renewable power and fed with our own low-carbon HPA feedstock.” 

Alpha has now provided Ebner-Fametec, a subsidiary of private Austrian company Ebner Industrieofenbau, with follow-on feedstock supply of ‘pizza piece’ shaped sintered tablets for multiple sapphire boule growth which is now underway.

In March 2023, Alpha entered into agreements with Ebner-Fametech to enter into the production and sale of synthetic sapphire glass utilising Ebner-Fametec’s sapphire growth technology and Alpha’s custom HPA tablets as feedstock. 

Meanwhile, the company is currently engaging with power distribution networks to ensure ability to supply total power connection requirements for both phases with formal enquiries in progress. Alpha continues to progress renewable power discussions with relevant energy providers in Queensland. 

The engineering team are progressing site layouts in parallel with site selection to ensure proper fit and operability which will include feed preparations, sapphire growing, and sapphire boule mapping and processing within the facility.

Synthetic sapphire glass is the pure crystalline form of HPA grown under controlled conditions as a single monolithic crystal. The glass has unique physical properties related to its purity, crystal matrix and hardness that makes it a critical, high value input into LED lighting substrates and various optical applications including consumer electronics, medical application, and defence. 

Alpha Sapphire was established to commercialise the first and only synthetic sapphire growth capability in Australia utilising the Ebner-Fametec sapphire growth technology and Alpha’s high purity alumina feedstock.    

The subsidiary has secured up to $30 million project funding from Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund and has secured matching equity funding from a strategic placement in November 2023.

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Alpha HPA
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.