Latrobe Magnesium produces world’s first batch of magnesium oxide from fly ash

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Latrobe Magnesium ASX LMG commissioning of demonstration plant

Latrobe Magnesium (ASX: LMG) has completed commissioning of the first phase of its 1000-tonnes per annum Stage 1 demonstration plant in Victoria.

The commissioning process enabled the company to produce the world’s first batch of environmentally-sustainable magnesium oxide from fly ash, a waste resource from brown coal power generation.

All of the fly ash feed material for the plant is processed using Latrobe’s patented hydrometallurgical extraction (hydromet) process, which produces these valuable by-products without generating further downstream waste or tailings.

Magnesium oxide production from the demonstration plant will be sold under an agreement to WA-based specialist company Rainstorm Dust Control.

First production

Latrobe’s chief executive officer David Paterson expressed encouragement over the first production from the demonstration plant.

“We are incredibly proud of the results and the achievement of magnesium oxide production,” he said.

“The world’s first flow sheet using a hydromet process is a testament to our technology, our staff and the contractors involved in the process to date.”

“The importance of our production is globally significant and this achievement validates our years of research and development to reach this stage.”

He described the end of commissioning as a “significant milestone” in pioneering a sustainable magnesium extraction method at an industrial scale.

Commercial plant

Latrobe will now commence a bankable feasibility study and financing discussions in relation to a 10,000-tonnes per annum Stage 2 commercial plant.

It will be constructed using similar engineering and flow sheets as the demonstration plant but with larger-scale equipment.

The commercial plant is expected to be less capital-intensive, as its scale is not proportionate to the plant’s annual production, expected to be ten times greater than the demonstration plant.

World-first process

Latrobe’s hydromet technology represents a world-first process for extracting magnesium from brown coal fly ash and ferro-nickel slag tailing feedstocks.

The company uses this low-emission process to convert the unwanted waste resource into saleable products, including valuable secondary by-products at no incremental cost.

These by-products are expected to account for approximately 25% of Latrobe’s revenue and include supplementary cementitious material, silica, char, iron oxide and agricultural lime (calcium carbonate).

Reduced costs

Hydromet is reported to reduce the operating cost of traditional magnesium and cement production methods and lowers carbon emissions by as much as 60% compared to the industry average.

It produces zero downstream tailings, ensuring environmental sustainability throughout the operation.

Mr Paterson noted that a saleable magnesium metal was expected to be produced in the coming months.