Altech Chemicals to locate beneficiation plant in Malaysia

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Altech Chemicals (ASX: ATC) has taken the decision to locate the beneficiation plant for the company’s proposed high purity alumina (HPA) project in Malaysia.

The company is currently undertaking detailed design for the project, located near Meckering in Western Australia, which includes consideration of optimisation opportunities for process flow design, plant layout, capital equipment and operating costs.

The company completed a Bankable Feasibility Study for the project in June that contemplated on-site beneficiation of mined kaolin material at Meckering.

However, as a result of the current detailed design and optimisation work, Altech will now locate the kaolin beneficiation plant at the company’s proposed HPA plant site in Johor, Malaysia.

According to Altech, moving the kaolin beneficiation plant to Malaysia will reduce plant capital costs as proposed dryer, bagging unit and supporting infrastructure will no longer be required.

Removing these items will also simplify the beneficiation process.

An added sweetener is that by locating the beneficiation plant in Malaysian means it will also be smaller in size as it will operate 24hrs/day – as opposed to 12 hrs/day in Australia – and construction costs in Malaysia will be much lower.

Operating costs for the Malaysian beneficiation plant will also be lower due to lower power and natural gas charges, lower labour costs and various maintenance and operating synergies.

The company said the revised Meckering operations (post mining) will now consist of loading raw kaolin material directly into sea containers for shipment to Malaysia.

“Identifying the benefits of locating the kaolin beneficiation plant in Malaysia is a credit to the detailed design and optimisation team,” Altech Chemicals managing director Iggy Tan said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The impacts on project NPV will be minimal, however the simplification of the beneficiation flow sheet and the synergies of having all of the major project infrastructure at one site and within one jurisdiction, Malaysia, will deliver both operating and project financing advantages.

“Detailed design and optimisation work is ongoing and will continue into the first quarter of 2016, in parallel with our project financing and associated activities”