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Alliance Magnesium extracts magnesium from asbestos tailings by electrolysis process

January 03, 2018
Source: ASM International

Alliance Magnesium, Brossard, Quebec, has developed a hydrometallurgical process combined with an electrolytic process to extract magnesium from asbestos tailings, which contain 25% magnesium. Serpentine rock (chrysotile-asbestos mine tailings) is the source of raw material. Chrysotile is a fibrous mineral with chemical formula Mg3Si2O5(OH)4.  About 96% of the magnesium in serpentine is extracted through this process.

Three provisional patents have been filed and two others are in preparation. The first and second patents refer to the overall process, while the third is specific to anode design.

Other advantages:

  • Serpentine feedstock does not generate carbon dioxide emissions when processed through the hydrometallurgical reactions to produce magnesium.
  • The magnesium produced is of very high quality and is certified by very demanding customers, such as Tier One OEMs and aluminum producers.
  • The process is based on electrolysis, the cleanest magnesium production process available.

Alliance has acquired all the shares of Magnola Metallurgy Inc. and Magnola Mining Inc., giving AMI full ownership of Magnola’s industrial and mining sites in Danville, Quebec. The acquisition of Magnola provides AMI with the infrastructure needed to deploy the construction and operation of a 50,000-metric ton magnesium plant by 2021. Alliance plans to invest a total of $535 million to build a full-scale magnesium metal production plant with a production capacity of 50,000 tons/year. The plant will be zero-effluent, as treated materials are captured and all process effluents are re-utilized.

The site includes facilities and equipment from the former magnesium plant, whose value was recently estimated by an independent appraiser at more than CAD $85 million. The property also contains a valuable residue deposit estimated at more than 100 million tons of serpentine rock, which is made up of approximately 25% magnesium and is the raw material that AMI will use in its production process.

“It took five years of work, investment, and achievement to reach this crucial and defining milestone in AMI’s development,” said Dr. Joël Fournier, Chief Executive Officer, AMI. “The transaction marks the company’s clear intention to play a dominant role in global magnesium production, and confirms its position as one of the largest manufacturing projects in Canada.”

Subject Classifications

Materials Processing and Treatment | Extraction and Primary Processing

Metals and Alloys | Magnesium

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