Mag­ne­sium project moves for­ward

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

A “world-first” com­mer­cialscale mag­ne­sium plant planned for Kar­ratha has been granted min­ing lease ap­proval by the State Gov­ern­ment, clear­ing a ma­jor hur­dle for the project to pro­ceed.

Last week EcoMag was awarded the lease it re­quired to mine mag­ne­sium from brines by the Depart­ment of Mines, In­dus­try Reg­u­la­tion and Safety, paving the way for the com­pany to progress works to­wards a plant ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 80,000 tonnes of hy­drated mag­ne­sium car­bon­ate a year on the out­skirts of Kar­ratha.

EcoMag chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Crim­mins said the lease ap­proval paved the way for the com­pany to ramp up pro­duc­tion in the Pil­bara. “The grant­ing of the min­ing lease is a ma­jor mile­stone,” he said. The com­pany still re­quires Depart­ment of Water and En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion au­tho­ri­sa­tion for construction works but Mr Crim­mins said he ex­pected the process to be “straight­for­ward”.

EcoMag uses tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped in Aus­tralia and South Korea to ex­tract mag­ne­sium com­pounds from salt pro­duc­tion waste streams, cre­at­ing a com­mer­cial prod­uct able to be used in the likes of smart­phones, flame re­tar­dants and cos­met­ics.

The com­pany’s pro­posed com­mer­cial plant would be built on land ad­ja­cent to Kar­ratha Air­port and is ex­pected to cre­ate about 110 jobs dur­ing construction and 25 lo­cal skilled roles dur­ing op­er­a­tion.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mar­ket­ing man­ager Wal­ter Munro said the fa­cil­ity would cre­ate a new in­dus­try in the Pil­bara, di­ver­si­fy­ing the re­gional econ­omy.

The EcoMag plant would cost $85 mil­lion to build.

The com­pany has ap­plied to the North­ern Aus­tralia In­fra­struc­ture Fund for $50 mil­lion and aims to raise the ex­tra $35 mil­lion from investors.

Mr Munro said once EcoMag had se­cured fund­ing, the plant would only take about nine months to build and “if all goes well” the fa­cil­ity could be op­er­a­tional by the end of 2019.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Hill, EcoMag’s Tam Tran and Shaun Triner, and City of Kar­ratha chief ex­ec­u­tive Chris Adams.

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