Critical minerals investment brings sapphire glass production to Queensland

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment The Honourable Cameron Dick
        • Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund (QCMBTF) first investment to support sapphire glass production.
        • Sapphire glass is a highly durable synthetic ceramic made of aluminium oxide and used in products like smart watches and phones.
        • QIC investment will fund purchase of furnaces to ‘grow’ sapphire glass.

The Palaszczuk Government will invest in a Gladstone company that is turning locally-produced alumina into glass for smart watches and phones.

The investment through the $100 million Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund, managed by the Queensland Investment Corporation, will accelerate the delivery of two purpose-built furnaces used to ‘grow’ sapphire glass at Alpha HPA in Gladstone.

The units will enable Alpha HPA to produce more than four tonnes of sapphire glass from High Purity Alumina (HPA) each year.

The extraordinary durability of sapphire glass makes it ideal for use in micro-LEDs and smartphone screens, making it a hot commodity for many producers worldwide.

Local production of sapphire glass will allow Queensland to capture significant value in the advanced materials supply chain and unlock new export opportunities.

Quotes attributable to the Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick:

“Gladstone has a proud history of being at the forefront of developing Queensland’s mineral wealth.

“Now, this industrial powerhouse can become a hub for world-leading advanced manufacturing thanks to Queensland’s leadership in the development of critical minerals.

“Alpha HPA is already producing high purity alumina with the support of our Government’s Industry Partner Program.

“This investment through QIC will enable Alpha HPA to increase the value of its finished product by 1000 per cent.

“That means more highly-skilled advanced manufacturing jobs here in Gladstone that would otherwise be lost overseas.

“Through this $100 million Fund and our $245 million Queensland Critical Minerals Strategy, we can turn Queensland’s mineral wealth into new jobs in new industries, especially in regional Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher:

“If we can make things here in Queensland, we absolutely should.

“We are committed to growing the state’s critical minerals processing capabilities to support downstream value-adding and export opportunities exactly like this.

“By improving the viability of the HPA Project, our investment will support the local High Purity Alumina industry and downstream uses like the semiconductor, lithium-ion battery, and LED lighting sectors.”

Quotes attributable to Alpha HPA Managing Director Rimas Kairaitis:

“Alpha HPA is delighted to have reached agreement with QIC on funding for Alpha Sapphire and for the broader support from QIC and the Queensland Government to support private sector investment to add value via downstream processing of Queensland’s materials.”

Quotes attributable to QIC CEO Kylie Rampa:

“QIC is proud to leverage its expertise to support the growth of the critical minerals sector within Queensland through private infrastructure development.

“The Queensland Critical Minerals and Battery Technology Fund’s first investment in Alpha HPA is a logical value-add complementing the existing alumina project.

“A looming shortage of natural sapphire glass in the market and growing demand for more energy conscious manufacturing processes makes this an attractive opportunity to enter a fast-growing market with all the competitive advantages Queensland has to offer.”

/Public Release. View in full here.