Canadian Manufacturing

Pilot plant set for Quebec to test ‘clean’ production of magnesium

Facility in Asbestos, Que., will test new process for producing metal from serpentine rock tailings

ASBESTOS, Que.—Alliance Magnesium Inc. has announced plans to build a pilot plant in Quebec to test its new production technology for making “clean” magnesium.

Slated for construction in Asbestos, Que., about 170 kilometres east of Montreal, the facility will be used to test a new process for producing the metal from serpentine rock tailings from a local asbestos mine.

“It is thanks to the unrelenting support and work of the Asbestos community that we are launching a large-scale project today that could capitalize on the entire region’s resources,” Alliance president and chief executive Dr. Joël Fournier said in a release.

The $10-million plant is the first stage in a project the company estimates would generate as much as $500-million in investment and create 300 jobs in a region hit hard by the closure of the Jeffrey open pit asbestos mine and the shuttered Magnola magnesium refinery.

“Thanks to the use of the latest technologies, we have significantly improved the manufacturing process compared to our predecessors,” Fournier said. “Our process, in line with sustainable development, will allow us to substantially reduce the environmental footprint of the magnesium industry.”

The company plans to use its patented electrolysis clean technology to produce the lightweight metal.

If the pilot plant is successful, Alliance plans to move to a larger pre-commercial facility, and, finally, a commercial production plant.

The pilot factory will have a production capacity of 25 kilograms a day.

Alliance said the commercial-scale production plant would have an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes of magnesium.

The Quebec government is lending Alliance $2.25-million to get the project off the ground.

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