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  • Top five promising high purity alumina producers in the world


    The global high purity alumina market size was estimated at 25,315 tonnes per annum in 2016. A recent study says the demand for the commodity will grow at a CAGR of 16.7% from 2016 through 2024. An increasing trend in adoption of LED lighting and displays globally is seen as the main factor driving this growth. Other application areas that are expanding steadily include lithium-ion batteries and high-performance electronic devices; HPA is widely used in making sapphire glass for smartphones. With rapid evolution in the electronics consumer goods sector, the demand for this specialty processed mineral is expected to grow even more steadily over the next five years period.


    There are many advanced inorganics and mineral processing companies that are adding high purity alumina to their product mixes. Following are the top five high purity alumina producers in the world who will dominate the market during 2016-2024:

    (The ranking below is based on the broader market reach of each company and hence, is essentially a dynamic one. It is subject to change under different macro and micro economic conditions).

    1. Orbite Technologies Inc.

    The strategically located producer of commodities such as smelter grade alumina, Canada based Orbite Technologies reported in its latest release that it is approaching one tonne per day of high purity alumina (HPA) production target. Temperature ramp up of the calcination section was completed successfully at its HPA plant, subsequent to which installation of the fluidization bed material was completed. The company said it is anticipating achieving consistent continuous operation at 1 tonne per day throughput rates, prior to continuing ramping up production further to the plant's nameplate capacity of 3 tonnes alumina per day.

    "We will then progress towards feeding higher purity ACH crystals to achieve 5N+ product and then continue our ramp up to nameplate capacity," said Glenn Kelly, CEO of Orbite.


    2. Altech Chemicals Ltd.

    The ASX listed Altech Chemicals is aiming to become one of the world's leading suppliers of high purity alumina. The company has completed a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) for the construction and operation of a 4,000tpa HPA plant at the Tanjung Langsat Industrial Complex, Johor, Malaysia. The plant will produce HPA directly from alumina-rich kaolin clay, which will be sourced from the company's 100%-owned kaolin deposit at Meckering, Western Australia. Altech Chemicals is currently attempting to finalise financing for the project debt, the majority of which is aimed to be covered by German government export credit finance (ECA cover).


    3. Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.

    The Tokyo Stock Exchange listed chemical company supplies specialty alumina such as low-soda alumina and alumina with a purity of over 99.99% to a wide cross-section of industry. While low-soda alumina is used for liquid crystal display glass, IC packages, and automobile spark plugs, high purity alumina finds use in lithium-ion secondary battery materials, ceramic parts of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and sapphire substrates for LEDs- the next-generation of light sources in demand.

    The company also produces lithium-ion secondary batteries which make use of a major percentage of high purity alumina produced in-house. Besides, the company also exports specialty alumina and HPA to a number of international buyers.  Sumimoto’s net sales in the Energy & Functional Materials segment (covering alumina, aluminium etc.) in the first nine months period ended December 31, 2016 totalled US$1,253,232 thousands, while operating income stood at US$ 44,193 thousands.

    4. Baikowski SAS

    Headquartered in France, Baikowski is a leading industrial manufacturer of specialty inorganics with focus on tailored high purity alumina powder and formulation production. It caters to a wide range of hi-tech markets such as:

    • Lighting (high intensity discharge lamps, fluo tubes, LED)
    • Watches & Phones (sapphire tops, ceramic parts)
    • Electronics (semiconductors)
    • Automotive (car polish, Li batteries)
    • Defense (armored windows, precision optics)
    • Medical (bioceramics, precision optics, IOLs, pacemakers)

    Combining state-of-the-art process technologies with unique material properties, Baikowski has developed advanced special oxides such as zirconia toughened alumina, Baikalox B-Series "High Cristallinity" alumina powders etc. 

    5. Nippon Light Metal Holdings Company, Ltd.

    The Nippon Light Metal (NLM) Group is an integrated manufacturer of aluminium value chain products in Japan. It produces and sells aluminium hydroxide and alumina, used in a wide variety of applications including flame retardants and ceramics, water purification etc. Other industrial sectors covered include:

    • Automotive: Amina used in spark plugs
    • Electical, electronics, and IT: Alumina, low soda alumina
    • General industries: Alumina, aluminium hydroxide

    NLM manufactured specialty alumina or high purity alumina is also used in structural ceramics, electronic materials, spark plugs, heat dissipating fillers, abrasives, material of refractories, raw material of sapphire, filler for LIB, adsorbents, and dehydrators.


    Alcoa Inc. is the world's leading producer of alumina. With installed refinery capacity of 17 million metric tons per year, the company currently operates six refineries in Australia, Brazil and Spain, and have a 25 percent share in the refinery that is part of our Ma’aden joint venture in Saudi Arabia. In addition to supplying alumina to in-house smelter, Alcoa sells more than half of its production externally.

    Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals, also known as AWAC, is a global alumina business that is a joint venture between Alumina Limited (40% owned) and Alcoa Inc, (60% owned). The company with an international network of alumina refineries accounts for approximately 10% of world alumina production. However, only 10% of its production goes on to feed chemical applications while the rest is meant to cater to the aluminium smelters.  AWAC owned San Ciprian alumina refinery, sells 30% of its production as commodity hydrated alumina to European chemical manufacturers. Point Comfort alumina refinery in Texas also produces non smelter-grade alumina in significant volumes.

    Other noted names in the industry that are going to make an impact over the next five years include Dalian Hiland Photoelectric Material Co., Ltd., Coorstek, Inc., Ltd., Polar Sapphire Ltd., and Sasol Germany GmbH.  

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