EcoMag passes strategic assessment phase ahead of NAIF investment decision

EcoMag is one step closer to developing its initial magnesium plant in Western Australia after the project successfully passed Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) strategic investment process.

EcoMag engaged the Federal Government’s financier to fund 60 per cent of its initial $60 million magnesium recovery project in Karratha, Western Australia. The plant will process wastewater from Australia’s largest solar salt producer to manufacture a series of high-purity magnesium salts for use in pharmaceutical, food and manufacturing applications. 

The strategic assessment phase involved NAIF reviewing the project’s technology, market, and financial risk profile. These factors were evaluated through third-party assessments, including a red flag engineering study, independent financial modelling and a comprehensive market review.    

EcoMag Chief Executive Tony Crimmins said passing NAIF’s strategic investment marked a significant milestone for the Karratha Project that will stimulate private investment discussions with third parties and foster new job opportunities in the Pilbara.

 “Magnesium has been identified as an untapped growth opportunity in the Pilbara. Our facility will signify one of the first advanced manufacturing chemical facilities in the region, with an estimated market opportunity beyond $1 billion,” Mr Crimmins said.

“This project will play a vital role in bolstering Western Australia’s economy, with the potential to produce tens of thousands of tonnes of premium quality magnesium salts for products spanning the food, cosmetics, construction, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors.”

While the initial Karratha Project will process less than one per cent of the magnesium contained within the waste stream – translating to almost 6,000 tonnes per year of magnesium products – the project is planned for commercial expansion to produce over 36,000 tonnes per year, which will be used in pharmaceutical and fire-resistant construction applications. 

This outcome allows NAIF to conduct further due diligence in relation to the Project and is not to be taken as a final investment decision by NAIF to grant financial assistance to the Project. A final investment decision by NAIF can only be made following satisfactory due diligence and further approval by the NAIF Board. As part of the next stage, EcoMag will commence a public benefit study and indigenous engagement report and finalise its front-end engineering design (FEED) study.

About EcoMag

EcoMag Limited is an unlisted Australian public company established in 2015. The company recovers magnesium from a wastewater by-product of solar salt production using technology co-invented by EcoMag’s Chief Technology Officer, Professor Tam Tran. EcoMag refines the recovered magnesium into a range of high-purity magnesium products spanning the food, cosmetics, construction, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors. For more information, visit EcoMag’s website.

About NAIF

NAIF is a development financier to infrastructure projects in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. NAIFs’ mission is to be an innovative financing partner in the growth of northern Australia. A key focus of any financing is to drive public benefit, economic and population growth and indigenous involvement in northern Australia. For more information, visit NAIF’s website.

EcoMag interview with CRC for Future Foods

The following interview with CEO Tony Crimmins and CTO Dr Tam Tran on EcoMag and its commercial spray drying process to make high grade magnesium organics. The CRC for Future Foods has been involved with EcoMag for the past 2 years, they have utilized traditional food drying processing technology in application for drying food/pharma grade chemicals. EcoMag has benefited from this relationship and has gain a better and faster process for its production. The result is commercial product within 6 months of successful pilot plant program.

Traceability: In source we trust

Searching all four corners of the globe for the cheapest product is no longer the main driver for consumer purchases. If you cast your mind back to Lübeck, Germany in the 17th century, the customer bought their salted fish for the winter months ahead from the local fisherman.The customers knew the fisherman who caught the fish as well as the fishmonger who salted and cured it. The fishmonger knew those working in the salt mines as well as the fisherman.

It was a relatively small tight knit community of workers who probably lived in the same region and community. Such was the circle of trust that existed back then. Our world is very different and globalisation, for all its advantages, means that the modern consumer doesn’t know where the products they buy are made or sourced.

Containerized in Karratha WA

We are all aware of the latest trend which has consumers demanding where and how their product was made. Catch-cries such as “farm to fork” or “source traceability” are now common in customer conversations. In simple terms, the consumer no longer wants to buy products just because they are cheap, they have to be made with consideration without causing collateral damage.

Containerised ship

No more hidden “sins of the father” no more hiding where and how it was made and does it affect the lives of others when it is made. No consumer wants to be  responsible for ruining other people lives. The rise in the power of social media has highlighted the conscious needs of the consumer to the retailer. In turn the retailer informs the distributor of the products they want and what consumers are asking for.

All the way to the USA

Distributors have a range of products they can buy and the smart and savvy manufacturers source products that can trace their source and explain the route of manufacture. To do this products are being certified by third party auditors that demand full supply chain disclosure. Cruelty Free International (Leaping Bunny logo), Organic certified and LCA are leading logos on consumer investigations.

Arrived USA Warehouse

EcoMag stands out as a true waste-to-resource company that satisfies consumer demand for source product that is has a very positive affect on the environment. EcoMag proudly shows off its ability to clean up a waste stream and discharge a more diluted stream that more closely resembles the sea. The EcoMag process is the lowest CO2 footprint and we are not taking from a natural resource. Some companies mine the inland seas or drill down miles into the sea crust searching for ancient sea beds. Both are mining and may cause collateral damage such as land subsidence. 

Turned into Abundant Natural Health product

Abundant Natural Health is an Australian company that has been sourcing its active ingredients from EcoMag. It is a partnership that brings together the story of taking valuable magnesium from a waste stream and incorporating it into products that that provide relief from psoriasis and pain. From Waste stream to CVS HealthHub. It is about trust and both companies proudly tell the consumer that the source is known and it is a guilt-free positive purchase. So, like the person who bought the salted fish, now EcoMag and Abundant Natural Health can give the consumer confidence through source traceability.

Sold to the consumer in the USA

EcoMag Limited wins $2 million Australian Government Grant

EcoMag site for production of high purity synthetic Magnesium in Karratha Western Australia

EcoMag was awarded a $2 million grant by the office of Northern Australia. This is our first grant from the Australian Federal Government and it will help fund our project development in Karratha WA.

The grant contract will become available to us in the next few weeks. We are ready to sign, spend and promote the project. The team has already set out priorities, taking into account the lead times for equipment that needs to be built and commissioned. EcoMag has already hired project managers for Karratha and cleared out the existing facilities on site. The timeline and budget will be finalised once we have confirmation on quotes, contracts and shipping times. 

Funding Future

Management has already started seeking extra funding opportunities that are available for EcoMag. This is becoming easier as we are now considered to be an infinite resource company as well as a waste treatment processor. EcoMag is also an ESG company and this puts us in the sweet spot for more government investment, which is the preferred route, in addition to funding from the responsible investment community. Investment meetings have been arranged for June and July in Europe and the UK, as our main customers and distributors are from this region. They have a vested interest in EcoMag as the high pure magnesium will be used for Pharmeutical supplement production and as fire retardant additive for the plastic industry.

Waste to Resource and Low CO2 footprint

EcoMag is in the enviable position of relying solely on waste streams for our processes. Our source of waste material is a solar salt waste stream that has been produced by solar thermal evaporation. There is minimal carbon produced by our process when we make the highly concentrated Mg stream. This compares favourably to other magnesium companies that either mine their magnesium from deep shafts or boil seawater until the sea is concentrated to remove Mg commercially generating CO2 in the process. Our company is a prime example of waste to resource with the added benefit of having the lowest carbon footprint. Our future plans are to further reduce the CO2 footprint aiming for a negative carbon footprint. This is known in the business world as carbon sequestration.

ESG is now even more important

We have boosted our profile based on our superior synthetic magnesium material in addition to our product’s low CO2 footprint. These days it is the climate threat that guides governments and consumers to consider what they buy.

In Europe it is now a requirement that companies comply with COP26 which is advantageous for us. For example the building industry is looking at using our product with prefabrication boards due to its low CO2 footprint but also its superior fire retarding properties, thermal installation and strength. Companies that use our material in their products are able to give suppliers and customers products with a lower CO2 footprint.

The Business Development Grant Opportunity is part of the Northern Australia Development Program which focuses on economic diversification and job creation through support for scaling up and growing businesses, including Indigenous businesses, in Northern Australian communities. 

More information on these grants visit:  Northern Australia Development Program – Business Development Grant Opportunity |

EcoMag brings low CO2 pure magnesium synthetics to market

My career began in Taiwan as an Environmental Waste Manager working to decommission and treat waste. Back in the 90’s waste management was considered a business cost and the principal aim was to dispose of the waste, with very little thought given to the possibility of reusing it. Nowadays, business recognises the damage waste is doing to the environment, forcing companies to look more carefully at their waste streams and think about how it can be remediated, with the possibility of changing it into a profit rather than it being a business cost. Thankfully businesses are also starting to looking at ways to produce less carbon dioxide.

The current catch-cry is that it should no longer be free to emit CO2 gas. Payments for these emissions, could take the form of a tax levy imposed on business unable to show a reduction in CO2 emissions. It could also mean some businesses will no longer be able operate as consumers become more critical of the effect they have on the environment. There is a substitute for everything and price is no longer the only measure of value.

EcoMag is in the enviable position of relying solely on waste streams for our processes. Our source is a solar salt waste stream that has been produced by solar thermal evaporation. There is minimal CO2 produced by our process when we make high purity Mg products from this Mg waste stream. This compares favourably to other magnesium companies that either source their Mg from mined ores or by boiling seawater generating CO2 in the process. Our company is a prime example of waste to resource with the added benefit of having the lowest CO2 footprint. Our future production plans are to further reduce our CO2 footprint, by producing a product that locks away CO2,  in other words a viable carbon sequestration method. Companies internationally are becoming interested in EcoMag as we offer them the right to tag themselves as our “environmental” partner and promote their purchasing of our material to their customers. It’s a chain reaction that will become more and more apparent as social media and life ambassadors give shout-outs to those who are actively and deliberately moving towards decarbonisation. Our distribution partner in Europe is IMagine, one of Germany’s main distributors of magnesium. IMagine understands that COP26 will bring low carbon materials to the forefront, so that businesses such as EcoMag become the new mainstream suppliers. Andreas Pabst of IMagine says “there is both a push from government and massive demand from end user customers for environmentally sound materials. EcoMag not only offers the lowest carbon footprint for super high grade MgO, but it can also supply consistently high quality at a fair and acceptable price. We work with EcoMag as the future is in top quality and sustainable materials”. Having the trust of a partner like IMagine to provide materials to their customers shows international understanding of the volatile magnesium supply market.

“It is easy to understand that the speed of change will come swiftly” says CEO Tony Crimmins ”EcoMag has timed its entry into the market correctly with the right product for the right times”. The change for suppliers can be seen in charts and demonstrates what consumers are demanding. The issue of CO2 footprint has risen in importance in the past few months as people start to understand that this footprint is what we need to measure when assessing impact on climate change. It has jumped from 30th to 12th on consumers purchasing priorities in Range-Me, the USA’s largest product distribution and promotion platform.

Tony Crimmins CEO EcoMag

Export trial of Magnesium to the USA direct from Karratha WA

The local news in Karratha has reported on our recent export of unrefined magnesium direct to the USA. It is an export shipment of raw material that will be used for pain relief and psoriasis products sold in USA as well as being a test of logistics. Can we economically export from Karratha Western Australian to the worlds largest ports? The markets for Ecomag’s highly pure and low carbon footprint magnesium are based in Europe, Asia and USA. Shipping directly from Karratha eliminates the need for the long truck drive from Karratha to Perth’s ports 2,000 kms away. Shipping directly from Karratha saves us both money and CO2. We know that this shipment means a lot for us at EcoMag but as well as saving CO2, it also could have the domino effect of making Karratha a port of activity.

Click the audio file below to listen to the interview
ABC radio interview with CEO Tony Crimmins from EcoMag. Testing direct shipment from Karratha to Los Angeles

Read all about it in Pilbara news

CO2 is Valuable Resource EcoMag has the Answer!

In a CO2 waste enriched environment it is important to come up with a material of value that can be formed using waste CO2. If we treat CO2 as any valuable waste stream we should start to develop processes that combine the CO2into structures that hold onto it, maintain their integrity and most importantly add real value to our businesses. The message from scientists measuring the changes in CO2 emissions and the effect of these changes, is that we need to act now as a matter of urgency. However acting in haste creates its own regrettable inefficiencies. Governments and investors rush in and focus their energies on ideas that have investment support but when you dig deeper, you realise that only half the real story is being disclosed. We know that CO2 emissions can be reduced by either not generating it in the first place, or by collecting the waste CO2 and storing it for long time. It is about finding the right path that doesn’t create further collateral damage.

Why is it so difficult to find a working solution to this problem?

There are two issues with CO2 production, the first relates to its concentrated collection and the second is using this concentrated CO2 in processes that substitute for other inputs for further utilization or entrap CO2 for sequestration. On the concentration collection the drive is to have clean waste CO2 in a pure form. The problem with aiming for high purity is that most CO2 generated comes from burning fossil fuels which are not clean. You cannot use this CO2 for gassing beverages for example as the issue of purity creates other problems. The concentrated CO2 is generated but now needs to be collected and stored. You can put the CO2 under pressure and store in cylinders that can be transported to be used in other processes. To do this we must be mindful not to be adding in more energy to do this task and therefore generating CO2. This in itself defeats the purpose of reducing the CO2 because it generates even more CO2. This is where it becomes easy pickings for people who are not committed to CO2 reduction, they see it as a problem that inhibits a new money-making venture.  

Is there a solution?
We don’t want to overcook the solution. What is needed is a process that does not need pure collected CO2 waste, as cleaning it for example for use in carbonated beverages costs a lot in time, money and energy (TME). Entrapping CO2 in underground/ocean ex-oil cavities is also high in TME and it also runs the risk of CO2 leakage acidifying the oceans which is potentially disastrous. Other great ideas include mineralisation for limited re-use, that is making a product that might end up storing it as waste, which is a total loss of TME

EcoMag has the answers!

EcoMag has a material that is made from waste CO2 that has real value as it stores CO2 in functional building products. So as long as we continue to build structures to live in we can also make and use material that stores CO2. This material is Hydrated Magnesium Carbonate (HMC). This HMC is a unique material and can be made in large quantities at EcoMag’s site in Karratha. The EcoMag site is situated over a waste magnesium stream that is currently discharged directly to sea. This is reacted with a saturated CO2 waste stream that has been collected from nearby companies that are generating waste CO2. The CO2 is not pure, but it does not need to be for the EcoMag process which can be easily collected and concentrated. The abundant source of the waste CO2 in Karratha is 22km from EcoMag. Shorter transport routes mean a lower amount of energy is used. Once at the EcoMag site it is mixed with the magnesium waste stream and from there we combine two waste streams to create a building material.

What is HMC to the Building Industry?
It is a breath of fresh air. HMC is 1/3 the weight of materials commonly used in plasterboard, strong as cement, water, rain and heat resistant and more importantly acts as a fire retardant when faced with extremely high temperatures. HMC can be used inside and outside buildings and provides great thermal insulation. MgO boards have been known to absorb moisture causing corrosion of the metal framework.

There have been issues with stable supply from China and hence was difficult to guarantee for a long-term future. The building industry wants reliable supply of raw materials as they are bound by many codes and regulations, which means introducing a new product is expensive and surety is very important. EcoMag is all Australian and can expands its current planned production of 50,000 tpa HMC to several times more before it runs out of the yearly magnesium supply.