Alpha Fine Chemicals Lands on Kwinana for Nickel Plant

After an unsuccessful attempt at setting up shop in Esperance, Alpha Fine Chemicals has chosen Kwinana to house its nickel sulphate plant.

Alpha Fine Chemicals (AFC) has proposed the construction and operation of a nickel sulphate plant in Kwinana, 30 kilometres south of Perth in Western Australia.

The plant, which is now in the definitive feasibility stage, would produce 20,000 tonnes per year of high purity nickel sulphate crystals. This would be done to help supply the lithium-ion battery market for electric vehicles and stationary storage. The project is expected to operate for 20 years, creating 50 to 60 long-term, full-time jobs in the process.

AFC would use new technology that, according to the company, is simpler, safer and less expensive than existing methods. The company has exclusive rights to CMN Process technology, which is solvent extraction technology that had been developed by AFC partner Canopean.

An assessment of the plant’s location is currently underway, as the company is trying to find a site with access to proper infrastructure, port facilities, transport routes and raw materials, and are compatible with surrounding land uses.

This comes after AFC had previously chosen the town of Esperance for its project, which was met with community protests. Its initial plan had been to put the site near farmland in the area, which saw strong opposition on the grounds of contamination concerns. AFC later pulled back on the plans, explaining in a statement that it didn’t want the plant to divide the local community.

“It was made very clear to AFC that even sites such as the Shark Lake Industrial Park would not be acceptable to those opposed to our proposed plant at Myrup,” the company said. “AFC does not wish to be a divisive influence in the local community and we will never seek to impose an operation on a community in which we are not welcome.”

The company expects production from the project to begin sometime in 2020.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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