Latrobe Magnesium successfully produces world’s first MgO from brown coal fly ash

Latrobe Magnesium Ltd has announced the completion of commissioning for the first phase of its 1,000 t/y, Stage 1 Demonstration Plant, successfully producing the world’s first environmentally sustainable MgO from fly ash – a waste resource from brown coal power generation.

It says this marks a significant milestone in pioneering a sustainable magnesium extraction method, at an industrial scale, using its patented, world-first hydromet process demonstrating the significant value of LMG’s intellectual property. “The successful production of MgO from the Demonstration Plant is a testament to our innovative process and commitment to sustainable manufacturing. Following this achievement and validating the hydromet process, LMG can now officially commence a bankable feasibility study and financing discussions, in relation to the 100%-contracted, 10,000 tonnes per annum Stage 2 Commercial Plant. MgO production from the Demonstration Plant will be sold to Rainstorm Dust Control Pty Ltd in accordance with the MoU between the parties.”

LMG’s patented hydrometallurgical extraction/thermal reduction technology is the only process capable of extracting magnesium from brown coal fly ash, and ferro-nickel slag tailing feedstocks. Converting nearly 100% of this unwanted waste resource into saleable products, this low-emission process produces magnesium metal with accompanying valuable secondary products at no incremental cost (which are expected to account for ~25% revenue), including magnesium oxide, supplementary cementitious material (SCM), silica, char, iron oxide, agricultural lime (calcium carbonate) LMG’s patented process not only reduces the operating cost of traditional magnesium and cement production methods but simultaneously reduces carbon emissions by as much as 60% compared to the industry average.

LMG adds: “Our patented process produces no further downstream tailings, ensuring environmental sustainability. The Demonstration Plant is to produce magnesium metal and associated secondary products. A saleable magnesium metal is expected to be produced in the coming months.”

LMG’s 1,000 t/y Demonstration Plant will have a similar flow sheet to the larger-scale 10,000 t/y Commercial Plant. The Commercial Plant is to be constructed using similar engineering as the Demonstration Plant. Equipment will be larger scale, however, the scale required is not proportionate to the 10 times greater annual production of the Commercial Plant and therefore will be significantly relatively less capital intensive. The Demonstration Plant was constructed by several local contractors, including Mechanical Maintenance Solutions Pty Ltd (structural, mechanical, and piping services), O&M Pty Ltd (electrical and instrumentation services) and Stirloch Constructions Pty Ltd (civil and earthworks services).

These three contractors, amongst other vendors and suppliers being Tenova, Steuler-KCH Australia Pty Ltd, Fast Automation Pty Ltd, Coregas Australia, Stable Engineering, Custom Agency Services Pty Ltd, and Rockwell Australia Pty Ltd are formative of LMG’s Strategic Supplier Program (SPP) for the Commercial Plant. The SPP will provide greater certainty of cost input and fast track information utilised in the feasibility study, which will inform the final investment decision at calendar year’s end.

Commenting on the significant milestone, CEO of Latrobe Magnesium, David Paterson, said: “We are incredibly proud of the results from our Demonstration Plant and the achievement of MgO production. The world’s first flow sheet using a hydromet process is a testament to our technology, our staff and contractors involved in the process to date. As the only new Western producer, the importance of Latrobe Magnesium’s production is globally significant, and this achievement validates our patented hydrometallurgical technology and years of research and development to get to this stage. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the aforementioned employees and contractors, who have worked tirelessly to make this achievement possible and look forward to our continued success.”