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MEI Online: Hydrometallurgy: Latest News: November 18th 2003

:: R&D Grant for Extraction Process  

HiTec Energy Ltd has been offered an Australian Government R&D Start grant of $357,575 for an innovative mineral extraction process that will produce the key ingredient for alkaline batteries in a more cost-effective way.

Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane today announced the grant and said the process would produce significant environmental advantages and had the potential to earn export dollars for Australia.

HiTec has been offered the grant to undertake permanent pilot plant testing and to complete a stability research study on the solvent extraction system that will be used in the production of high-quality electrolytic manganese dioxide,Macfarlane said.

The new production process adds value to manganese waste products that are currently disposed of in tailings dams. It also eliminates the roasting of high value manganese fines, which means less greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and no water-soluble manganese waste compounds would be consigned to tailings dams.

There will also be employment opportunities created for about 40 people in the Kalgoorlie region when the first stage production plant is set up with an expectation of higher employment when the capacity expands,Macfarlane said.

Hitec Energy plans to export the high-quality electrolytic manganese dioxide to the worlds leading battery makers and may also license the technology overseas. The first stage production plant has the potential to generate more than $25 million a year in export dollars.



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