A critical minerals startup, Magnium Australia is conducting a groundbreaking feasibility study that could lead to the world’s first net-zero magnesium foundry being built in Victoria with technology developed by the CSIRO.

Magnesium symbol

National science agency the CSIRO has developed a patented low-emission process for creating high-purity, high-value magnesium, which if proven commercially viable would make Victoria and Australia a major player in a $7 billion global industry and set new benchmarks for clean production.

Magnesium is used in small amounts to add strength to aluminium alloys used in parts casting (cars, gearboxes, seat frames), aerospace manufacturing, laptops and other electronic goods.

China accounts for 85 per cent of the world’s magnesium production using high-energy and labour-intensive methods, sourcing magnesite ore from countries including Australia. Magnium’s clean, green strategy would enable the processing of Australian ore here, eliminating carbon-intensive shipping of ore overseas and back.

The patented MagSonic nozzle hypersonically cools molten magnesium into a fine powder of greater than 99.8 per cent purity, which can be pressed into ingots for transport. The study will explore ways for Magnium Australia to scale-up the technology under its globally exclusive partnership with CSIRO and build a magnesium refinery in Victoria.

The company forecasts a Victorian foundry could produce up to 120 kilotons per year of magnesium for export – more than 10 per cent of global supply – creating $1 billion in annual earnings at current prices.

Investment to build a next-generation magnesium foundry would create hundreds of construction jobs and involve capital investment of hundreds of millions of dollars while an estimated 350 ongoing jobs would be supported.

A new sovereign manufacturing process would also increase certainty for local manufacturers by reducing Australia’s reliance on the international mineral processing supply chain.

The feasibility study, co-funded by the Victorian Government, is expected to be completed early in the new year and will consider site locations, infrastructure planning, renewable energy usage, environmental and community impact, community engagement, engineering process flows and planning permit requirements.

Chief Executive Officer of Magnium Australia, Shilow Shaffier said, “We are grateful for the ongoing support and foresight from the Victorian Government which enables the creation of companies like ours, building on local research to create new future industries here in Australia.”

Given Magnium Australia’s secured magnesite tenements in South Australia, and the potential for the process to refine high purity magnesium from brine, the company does not expect to conduct new mining exploration in Victoria.

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