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 fuel, 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 around 90% of the world’s magnesium metal production and, with this market dominance, prices have increased, and supply is under threat due to the damaging environmental impacts of the pidgeon extraction process, which process dominates China's production. 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.
EU, UK, Australia, Japan, India, and Korea to name a few each import 100% of their magnesium metal if not all then primarily from China.
As sustainability is a growing priority, relying on overseas trading partners for critical goods and services is neither sustainable nor socially responsible.
Magnesium is one of a handful of critical minerals found across regional Australia — with known economic demonstrated resources of more than 300 million tonnes — Australia has the potential to meet 50% of the world's annual magnesium requirements for the next 250 years. This resource becomes unlimited when factoring in that magnesium oxide, the source material to make magnesium metal can also be sourced from desalination plant by-products.
The refinery costs circa $300 million, which produces a world-class net zero-emission facility capable of producing 30,000 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 create an entirely new export income. 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. Additionally, this will provide advanced manufacturing jobs in the new economy where there needs to be a just transition from coal jobs.