QUEBEC – The government of Quebec has offered a $2.5-million interest free loan to help build a pilot plant to confirm the economic viability of a new technology for producing magnesium. Alliance Magnesium will built the facility near Asbestos and use the serpentine tailings from the Jeffery asbestos mine as feed. Cost of the pilot plant is estimated at $10 million.
A commercial plant with a production capacity of 50,000 t/y of metallic magnesium will cost $500 million and create 300 new jobs, estimates the company. A three-stage development program is planned – pilot plant, pre-commercial plant and commercial plant. The pilot plant will produce 25 kg/d.
Alliance Magnesium is a privately owned Canadian company that has developed a patented electrolysis technology for the production of magnesium from serpentine rock. The technology is much cleaner than others used by magnesium producers around the world.
(Editor's note: Noranda operated the Magnola electrolytic magnesium plant at Danville, QC, from 2000 to 2003. It, too, relied on serpentines tails from nearby asbestos mines. The smelter was closed due to increased cheap Chinese exports of the metal.)