FYI Resources Ltd’s (ASX:FYI) (FRA:SDL) high purity alumina (HPA) pilot plant in Welshpool, Western Australia, is being prepared for further detailed product trials in conjunction with Alcoa Australia Limited.
The company signed an MOU with Alcoa earlier this year for the potential development of FYI’s fully integrated, high-quality HPA project.
Collaborative operation and demonstration of FYI’s pilot plant are one of several conditions precedent under the MOU.
The HPA pilot plant will be re-commissioned in mid-December following a refurbishment carried out to accommodate key design and materials handling refinements required for the potential joint operations.
Alcoa is funding the cost of refurbishment of the FYI pilot plant and operation of the trial.
“Key step” in potential JV
FYI managing director Roland Hill said: “The pilot plant trial is a key step in establishing the foundation for a potential joint venture.
“FYI is looking forward to continuing the successful track record of production trials and delivering on our target outcomes.”
Pilot plant trial
FYI has developed an innovative processing flowsheet design that has demonstrated production of high purity, high-quality HPA.
Previous production test trials have resulted in outstanding quality HPA which is being assessed by potential offtake parties for product suitability.
Under Alcoa’s oversight, the pilot plant is scheduled to operate continuously for one week, as per previously conducted trials, at a rate of around 1 kilogram per hour.
Objective of cooperation
The purpose of the imminent pilot test work is to provide Alcoa with confidence through direct participation in the operation of the HPA refining process.
This validation of the key technical and operational parameters of the flowsheet is a key condition to the terms of the JV being established.
There is the potential to improve the project economics and overall HPA strategy as a result of Alcoa’s involvement, due to their high technical standards and extensive alumina operating experience.
This may result in refinements to the flowsheet, materials of construction and handling and other potential enhancements to the process.
Pilot plant refurbishment is nearing completion and will be finalised over the course of the next week.
The commissioning phase will then take place ahead of the continuous plant operation which is due to start in mid-December and be in production for one week.
Following completion of the joint trial production, the end product will be examined for quality control before being sent to selected end users for detailed quality assessment and product qualification testing.
An assessment of the resulting data and technical information by both Alcoa and FYI may lead to the framework of the JV.