Western Australia-based Altech Chemicals will use A$1.2 million raised in a placement to finalize the detailed design of a proposed high-purity alumina (HPA) plant to be located at Johor, Malaysia.

Apart from the design work for the 4,000-mt/y plant, funds will be used for completion of debt financing and for general working capital.

The company said the Malaysian plant forms an integral part of its plan to become a significant supplier of 99.99% high-purity alumina—a high-value product that is the critical ingredient required for production of artificial sapphire.

Artificial sapphire is used in the manufacture of substrates for LED lights, semi-conductor wafers used in the electronics industry, and scratch-resistant artificial sapphire glass used for wristwatch faces, optical windows and smartphone components. According to the company, there is no substitute for HPA in the manufacture of artificial sapphire.

Altech has also received the results of an update to the bankable feasibility study for the Johor plant. Altech’s managing director Iggy Tan said, “This updated BFS confirms the financial and technical robustness of the company’s HPA project, as was identified in the original BFS.

“Since the completion of the BFS in June 2015, the various technical consultants have taken time to conduct a detailed review of the entire HPA project, identifying optimization opportunities, critically reviewing equipment selection, and updating all equipment and operating cost pricing.

“This is quite important given the changes that have transpired in the resources industry since the BFS was completed.

“The focus for Altech now is the finalization of project financing, completion of final design and construction drawings, the formal appointment of the EPC contractor and the subsequent award of various works packages to enable the commencement of construction in early 2017.”

The company recently secured a 30-year lease on a site in Johor Bahru for the proposed HPA plant. Johor is linked to Singapore by causeway and is the only state in Malaysia with three ports and an international airport for cargo.

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