Western Magnesium Corporation successfully produced magnesium metal at its commercial pilot plant. This brings the company one step closer to achieving commercial production, with the aim of meeting surging demand in the automotive, aerospace, airline, defense, and eco-friendly industries.
“The success of our magnesium production that we are seeing at our commercial pilot plant ushers in a new era for Western Magnesium and the U.S.,” said Ed Lee, Western Magnesium’s executive chairman. “I am humbled by both the management and operations team, and their continued drive to challenge the status quo and develop this unparalleled technology. We are closer than ever to exhibiting how America can run metal production operations in an environmentally sound and sustainable way.”
Proprietary Reduction Technology
Magnesium is essential to the production of aluminum and titanium and a scarcity of the raw material could worsen an already tight supply territory. Years ago, domestic magnesium production was off-shored to China in part because operational costs in North America became excessive and old production methods of extraction proved harmful to the environment.
Western Magnesium’s proprietary technology involves silicothermic reduction in a continuous reactor for the production of low-cost, green magnesium metal from dolomite. The technology will enable the production of 99.8% pure magnesium metal with near-zero environmental consequences. This will make North America far less reliant on China for this critical mineral that will lighten and improve a wide range of civilian and defense goods and be an additive in multiple other processes, such as aluminum and titanium.
“It’s a thrilling time to be at the forefront of this manufacturing revolution,” said Sam Ataya, executive president & CEO of Western Magnesium. “We have witnessed the birth of a new technology that puts us on the cutting edge of showcasing novel solutions and setting new standards for responsible ‘green’ magnesium production and ending America’s reliance on China for a strategic mineral that we simply must have to ensure our national security. With this achievement, we are maintaining the path to providing long-term stable supply to both domestic and defense sectors within the United States.”
Western Magnesium reported that its continuous reactor is operating as designed, maintaining target temperature and pressure, while allowing for continuous feed, discharge, and magnesium production. According to the company, this is a technology milestone that has never yet been accomplished globally to date. The company will be reviewing all steps of the process to ensure efficient and successful project execution and completion.
“It is a true honor to be at the helm of this innovative technology that has been years in the making,” said Paul Sauve, Western Magnesium’s chief technology officer. “We have worked tirelessly to ensure the efficacy of this unprecedented technology and strongly believe that it will ultimately meet production needs in an environmentally responsible and ecologically sound way.”
Once refined, this scalable technology will be installed in the company’s new facility in Harrison County, Ohio. Western Magnesium intends to begin construction of this full-scale facility next year and will produce more than 100,000 tonnes of magnesium annually. The mega plant will have the capacity to produce 10% of the world’s current supply and will employ 250 full-time and 500 support personnel in Harrison County.