Latrobe Magnesium Limited’s (LMG) application to use and develop an initial 3,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) magnesium plant at Hazelwood North in Victoria has been approved and a certificate issued.
The production plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley will use a world-first process of combined hydromet / thermal reduction. Using a patented extraction process the magnesium plant will harvest magnesium metal from industrial fly ash – a waste stream from brown coal power generation.
A feasibility study has been successfully completed which commercially justifies developing the project. Ordering of the plant is due to start in July 2020, with first magnesium production due 18 months later.
The plant will be located at the centre of Victoria’s coal power generation precinct providing direct and constant access to feedstock. The company has secured an 11 hectare site with 14,000 m² of buildings.
LMG has entered into an MOU with a Japanese company and an offtake agreement with a United States distributor to sell the initial plant 3,000 tpa production and a significant part of its 40,000 tpa expanded plant’s production.
Demand for magnesium worldwide is strong. It has the best strength-to-weight ratio of all common structural metals and is increasingly used in the manufacture of car parts, laptop computers, mobile phones and power tools. Australia imports 100 per cent of the 8,000 tonnes it consumes.
The project is at the forefront of environmental sustainability as it converts 100 per cent of the power plant waste into valuable commodities. The CO2 emissions are some 50 per cent less than comparable plants.
Following the award of the planning application by the Latrobe City Council, LMG can lodge its Research, Development and Demonstration application with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Under the law, EPA has 30 days to respond to this application.