EcoMag’s application for a mining lease for the purposes of extracting Magnesium salts from brines and sea water was granted by Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) on 19th November 2018.
This paves the way for EcoMag to construct a magnesium extraction and processing plant capable of producing 80,000 tonnes per annum of hydrated magnesium carbonate in Western Australia’s Pilbara, establishing a new business activity in the area and creating jobs for people living in the City of Karratha.
EcoMag utilises a proprietary technology to recycle the bitterns stream discarded by Australia’s largest solar saltworks as it passes down a channel to the ocean. Legally the extraction of magnesium is regarded as a mining operation, requiring approval from the WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum. EcoMag submitted its application in May.
“The granting of the mining lease is a major milestone,” EcoMag CEO Tony Crimmins said. “We now have regulatory approval to extract magnesium from the bitterns stream, which means we now have a business. We will require Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) authorization for our construction works but the approval process is straightforward, and we don’t anticipate major problems or delays.”
While the ancillary approvals are being processed, a team of around thirty in-house and consulting engineers, surveyors and analysts are finalizing the engineering for the plant with a financing level feasibility study due to be completed around the end of this month and plant front-end engineering expected to be finalized and signed off early in 2019.
As previously announced EcoMag is in the due diligence phase regarding a proposal to borrow $50 million from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. EcoMag also plans to raise equity in an Initial Public Offering in early 2019 to complete its funding requirements for construction of the full-scale plant. The company will particularly seek ethical investors and responsible investment funds as long-term partners in the building of an Australian based, global, sustainable and ethical specialty chemicals enterprise.
“We subscribe to a view that is taking hold across the business world,” Mr. Crimmins said. “The information and telecommunications megatrend is maturing and the sixth industrial revolution is underway, the industrial transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy. We intend for EcoMag, and hopefully Australia more broadly, to be a part of this revolution.”
EcoMag’s business is inherently sustainable. Magnesium is the third most abundant element in seawater and EcoMag’s process recycles a waste stream that has been flowing into the ocean for decades. The elemental composition of EcoMag’s residual bitterns is much closer to that of seawater in both relative and absolute terms. EcoMag is also a low carbon emitter.