LONDON (ICIS)--Altech Chemicals has broken ground on the first stage of its 4,500 tonne/year high purity alumina (HPA) plant in Johor, Malaysia, the Australia-based company said in an update on Friday.
The first stage will include a geotechnical drilling and ground survey programme to confirm ground conditions and optimise foundation piling.
The plant will use a hydrochloric (HCl) acid-based process to extract HPA directly from kaolin clay, which will be sourced from Altech’s kaolin deposit in Western Australia.
HPA is needed to make artificial sapphire, which, in turn, is used in the manufacture of substrates for LED lights, semiconductor wafers, scratch-resistant artificial sapphire glass, optical windows and smartphone components.
Germany’s government-owned KfW IPEX-Bank is providing $190m in project finance and Altech is “concluding $150m of additional project finance initiatives”, it said.
The company did not provide details about the additional finance, and it did not comment on the plant's expected timelines for completion and start-up.