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FYI very close to Alcoa JV – expected in just 30 days.

August 04, 2021 | Price:$0.600

Our investment FYI Resources (ASX: FYI) is in the advanced stages of bringing a High Purity Alumina plant into production.

FYI plans to produce High Purity Alumina, an in-demand lithium-ion battery material, in Western Australia and export it globally with eyes on customers in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Europe and North America.

A few months ago FYI entered into an exclusive JV negotiation with $7.55 Billion global alumina company Alcoa – We have all been waiting for the Alcoa JV consummation news

…and today it “almost, sort of happened”

FYI today confirmed that it is extending its exclusivity agreement for a JV with Alcoa for another 30 days.

This is very positive news in our opinion as it indicates that the JV negotiations are progressing well and FYI and Alcoa just need more time to iron out the fine terms and conditions.

So 30 more sleeps till we find out…

FYI’s project is at an advanced stage of development and has strong economics, as confirmed by an updated Definitive Feasibility Study that demonstrated a Net Present Value of over US$1BN (A$1.3BN). FYI is currently capped at $200M.

Our investment in FYI

FYI took a major step towards commercially producing a superior HPA to meet market demand earlier this year, when it entered into exclusive Joint Venture negotiations with Alcoa Corporation (NYSE: AA)  — a Fortune 500 company and the world’s largest alumina producer.

It was this development that gave us the confidence in the company’s prospects to add it to our long term investment portfolio. 

A JV with the $7.55BN Alcoa would leverage the companies’ combined strengths to capture opportunities in the high-growth HPA market and seek to position the JV as a  material producer in the HPA industry.

This looks particularly attractive in light of the current Tier 1 investment being thrown behind the industry to support EV battery development. Take for example the recent ~$450M investment by Korea’s largest chemical company, LG Chem into the battery separator space – essentially positioning it as a complete manufacturer of all components of lithium ion batteries.

As a battery supplier to Tesla and General Motors, LG Chem’s entry points to strong growth expectations within the separator market. Indeed, the latest SNE Research predicts this market to grow more than 250% to ~$9.6 billion within electric vehicle batteries alone over the next four years.

As a key component for separators, securing long-term HPA supply is critical for battery and electric vehicle manufacturers, as well as businesses supplying them.

Hence, the understandable interest from Alcoa.

Again, FYI has now confirmed that it is extending its exclusivity agreement for a JV with Alcoa for another 30 days.

We take this as a positive sign that each party remains committed to successfully negotiating a binding agreement.

Also positive, are reports from Alcoa that it “…is encouraged by the progress made towards the establishment of a possible joint venture with FYI Resources for the production of HPA”.

FYI & Alcoa to bring High Purity Alumina to market

HPA is an in demand lithium-ion battery material that with the rise of Electric Vehicles (EV) could be facing increasing supply issues ahead. It is increasingly used as anode/cathode separators in EV batteries and energy storage, as well as in more established industries including LED lighting and semiconductors.

FYI’s project is at an advanced stage of development and has strong economics, as confirmed by an updated Definitive Feasibility Study that demonstrated a Net Present Value of over US$1BN (A$1.3BN). FYI is currently capped at $200M.

The company has invested significant time and many millions of dollars in detailed research and development in refining and perfecting an innovative eco-friendly purification process for HPA.

It has two key assets:

  • The Cadoux Kaolin Project – a 3.2Mt  reserve, with a mine life of greater than 25 years of aluminuous kaolin clay, grading 24.8% Al2O3
  • A proposed HPA production facility in Kwinana – where up to 10,000 tpa of HPA is intended to be produced

FYI’s resource is located 220 kilometres north-east of Perth and according to its DFS has a modelled 25 year plus mine life.

FYI is in the advanced stages of bringing its High Purity Alumina plant into production using feedstock from Cadoux to process at Kwinana.   Here, FYI is aiming to develop a 10,000 tpa HPA plant, with 8,500 tpa of 4N HPA and 1,500 tpa of premium 5N HPA. The company’s most recent DFS demonstrated upfront capital costs of US$202M (about a fifth of the NPV), with an Internal Rate of Return of 55% and a payback period of 3.2 years – overall, quite compelling metrics for a company with a sub-$200 million enterprise value.

Following Pilot Plant work last December, FYI has demonstrated it can deliver a dependable supply of HPA for long term contract buyers, with high ESG standards – putting it in good standing to attract Tier 1 customers.

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