Deloitte Access Economics has undertaken an economic analysis of EcoMag’s proposed magnesium recovery plant in Karratha, Western Australia, estimating that the project would create direct benefits for the Australian public over the first 20 years of operation valued at over $149 million. These are driven primarily by company taxes for the Commonwealth, and payroll taxes and royalties for Western Australia, in addition to infrastructure improvements for the Pilbara and environmental benefits.
The initial plant is designed to produce around 80,000t of hydrated magnesium carbonate annually, mostly for export, worth around $130 million a year at current prices. It would also generate over 100 jobs in construction, and require a substantial locally resident operational workforce.
EcoMag’s hydrometallurgy process is capable of recovering magnesium from a range of sources, but it is ideally suited to precipitating magnesium carbonate from hypersaline brines, a by-product of sea-salt production which, for decades, has been discarded and discharged into the ocean.
This gives EcoMag management and shareholders an opportunity to grow an environmentally and socially conscious business from the ground up, which is easier to achieve than trying to retrofit social ethics to a massive, long established corporate entity.
These sorts of opportunities have traditionally been rare but the world is changing. Environmental and social concerns are fast becoming a dominant driver of consumer and investor choices. It’s one of the emerging mega-trends of our times. Investors are no longer satisfied with the old two-dimensional focus on risk and return. Increasingly they are demanding that business leaders broaden their focus to the third dimension: impact – social and environmental.