Why Australia needs a foundry

The global magnesium metal industry long term boasts high value and moderate growth. This growth is predicted to accelerate as magnesium is the lightest, strongest structural element and allows all transport to go faster, quicker and use less petrol, thereby producing less CO2 emissions. Over the past decade, global demand for magnesium metal has soared, primarily due to its application in aluminium alloy, which is expected to be a $150 billion industry by 2024.

Today, China accounts for over 90% of the world’s magnesium metal production and, as a result of this market dominance, prices have increased, and supply is under threat due to the damaging environmental impacts of its extraction process. China has imposed strict regulations to reduce CO2 emissions, putting pressure on the magnesium industry to be more environmentally efficient, with no Chinese producer currently meeting the particulate test, and multiple plants having been forced to close. At present, we export raw magnesium unrefined rock overseas and then re-purchase at a premium price the finished magnesium metal.

As sustainability is a growing priority, relying on overseas trading partners for critical goods and services is neither sustainable nor socially responsible.

Australia has some of the world’s largest resource deposits and yet 80% still remains unexplored for mining. Magnesium is one of a handful of critical minerals found across regional Australia — with known economic demonstrated resources of more than 300 million tonnes — it has the potential to meet 50% of the world's annual magnesium requirements for the next 250 years. However, Australia currently imports between 2 and 7,000 tonnes of magnesium metal per annum, increasing our annual trade deficit by no less than $30 million.

The refinery costs circa $450 million, which produces a world-class net zero-emission facility capable of producing 35,040 tonnes of magnesium per annum. The plant will be the lowest CO2 emitter in metal production in the world. This output will far exceed our domestic requirement of 7,000 tonnes, and exporting the remaining 23,000 (+) tonnes will earn Australia more than $180 million a year in net revenue. The US, UK, EU, and Japan all identify magnesium as a critical mineral and are looking to secure supply.

There is a high demand for environmentally friendly magnesium metal. We are communicating with some of the world's largest global companies for offtake agreements. Additionally, this will provide a great number of regional jobs for Australians impacted by the current global pandemic and consequent recession; helping us to rebuild our economy while becoming global leaders in innovation.