Alcoa subsidiary Alcoa of Australia (AoA) has signed a binding term sheet with FYI Resources to develop a high-purity alumina (HPA) refining project.

The term sheet enables the two firms to develop a demonstration plant and a primary production facility to produce HPA, a processed alumina product with a 99.99% purity or higher.

HPA is used to manufacture LEDs, mobile phones, television screens, and battery and power storage components.

The primary production facility is planned to be located within the Kwinana and Rockingham industrial area.

Construction on the HPA plant is scheduled to commence in 2024.

Alcoa executive vice-president and chief commercial officer Tim Reyes said: “As a high-value product that will play an important role in a low-carbon future, the production of HPA is strategically aligned with Alcoa’s commitment to advance sustainably.

“This project is a natural complement to Alcoa’s existing business that builds on our expertise in alumina refining technology development and our production capability.”

FYI Resources said that the term sheet, which contemplates three development phases for the project, sets out the pathway to a future joint venture (JV). This will be subject to the final investment decision.

Alcoa will have a 65% ownership interest in the new full-scale, 8,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) HPA project while the remaining stake will be held by FYI Resources.

The two firms will have to decide whether or not to proceed to the next phase, at the end of each phase.

FYI Resources managing director Roland Hill said: “FYI considers that a future JV forms a robust structure capable of delivering the high-quality HPA strategy, as outlined in the DFS, at a time when the international HPA market is forecast to grow in line with the world’s e-mobility uptake and emerging HPA applications.

“FYI considers that the project has potential for scaled increases in production across multiple jurisdictions, including North America and Europe.”