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Alcore

  • What is Alcore?

    Alcore is a chemicals company using advanced fluorine chemistry for processing minerals and other materials. Alcore has developed improved methods of: 

    1. Recovering fluorine from stable fluorine compounds
    2. Controlling the reaction of fluorine acids with metal oxides

    Alcore’s laboratory is the only one of its type in Australia, and one of only about a dozen in the world, that is suitable for operation with concentrated fluorine acids.

  • What is aluminium fluoride?

    Aluminium fluoride (AlF3) is an essential chemical for aluminium smelting – there is no substitute. Global production of AlF3 is 1.2 million tonnes per year at a long term price of more than US$1,200 per tonne. 90% of AlF3 is used in aluminium smelting.

  • What is the aluminium fluoride situation in Australia?

    Australia produces 1.6 million tonnes of aluminium per year and is the world’s sixth largest producer. Australia is the largest aluminium smelting region in the world without local AlF3 production. Australia imports 100% of its AlF3 requirements. In recent years this has been mostly from China, and Australia is the largest purchaser of AlF3 from China.

  • How is aluminium fluoride produced?

    90% of AlF3 is produced by reacting aluminium hydroxide, an intermediate form of alumina, with anhydrous hydrogen fluoride gas (AHF) that is produced from fluorspar and sulfuric acid. Fluorspar is classed as a critical material in the USA and EU, and high-quality fluorspar is increasingly in short supply. About 10% of AlF3 production uses fluorosilicic acid (FSA) in place of AHF. FSA is a by-product from production of phosphoric acid (fertiliser).

  • What is the Alcore process for producing aluminium fluoride?

    The Alcore process comprises:

    1. The recovery of fluorine from waste materials, eliminating the need to use fluorspar
    2. The use of bauxite and/or dross (a waste from casting of aluminium) as the source of aluminium, instead of aluminium hydroxide
  • What are the benefits of the Alcore process for aluminium fluoride production?

    Raw materials are the largest contributor to the cost of AlF3 production, so the use of lower cost sources of fluorine and aluminium enables Alcore to produce AlF3 equivalent to the existing commercial product, but at a substantively lower cost.

  • What is the plan for commercial AlF3 production?

    Alcore’s first plant will be located at Bell Bay, northern Tasmania, near an existing hydro-powered aluminium smelter. The initial capacity is intended to be 10,000 tonnes per year of AlF3, which would supply about 35% of the demand from the Australasian aluminium smelters. The ultimate capacity is up to 60,000 tonnes per year.

  • What stage of development is Alcore up to?

    Alcore has demonstrated most critical prerequisites in the laboratory. Engineering validation has commenced to reduce the technical risk for the 10,000 t/y plant. Evaluation of some process steps in a 10 kg/h pilot plant will finalise the first production plant design.