EcoMag working with Jummi factory in making First Nations medicine in products for Australia and the USA. Josie Alec the owner of Jummi Factory has been seeking a partner that has the expertise in both natural plant extraction and marketing expertise for Australia and beyond. Josie lives in Karratha Western Australia, and her mother taught her which plants can be used for the treatment of ailments used by First Nations people in northern Western Australia.
The Jummi Factory is the name of her company and is a take on the aboriginal word ‘Jami’ which is name used for this medicine. “Too long we have ignored medicine that was used by aboriginals in Western Australia for the treatment of everyday ailments” Josie reflects on the strong medical relief extract that provided safe use for aboriginal people. “It is not just about the plant and its extract but incorporates how we collect the plant, when and where” says Josie “It is our Aboriginal protocol as traditional healers that provides the connection to the extract from our Jummi plant”
. Josie is dedicated to bringing Aboriginal medicine to the front here in Australia and overseas and found willing partners in EcoMag to propel the business forward. “Our mantra is always to assist businesses rather than hamper their growth” how Tony Crimmins CEO of EcoMag describes why EcoMag is working hard behind the scenes on its business mentor and incubation programme. “It is what EcoMag is trying to emphasise that business is not about fencing off operations but incorporating other business so that together you can get business that live and sustain off each other”. EcoMag’s alignment with The Jummi Factory is a program designed to develop a First Nations business using the tools that has allowed EcoMag to exist and survive.
The Jummi Factory and EcoMag are concerned businesses that promote sustainable project that care for our land water sea and air. It about the future and keeping this land intact for future generations. EcoMag is a promotor of First Nations businesses and provides positive can-do work mentality to get through barriers and move forward.
Why will EcoMag’s business succeed where others have failed? The table below shows that EcoMag is smart process engineering without the complexity of process, logistics and market.
EcoMag Limited, Australia’s premium supplier of high-purity magnesium salts, is an unlisted Australian public company established in 2015. The company recovers magnesium from concentrated seawater — a waste product of solar salt production — EcoMag refines the recovered magnesium into a range of high-purity magnesium products spanning the food, cosmetics, construction, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors.
“Roll up Roll up” welcome to the new world of a Business Park that has an infinite supply of Magnesium. Not mined but recovered from disregarded waste streams. This business park is inviting participants interested in supplying input material or using MgO in downstream product. All explained in this interview with Michelle Staney from the ABC news in Australia.
EcoMag, Australia’s premium supplier of high-purity magnesium salts, is working to establish a Magnesium Business Park (MBP) near Karratha, WA.
The precinct will establish key infrastructure to recover valuable minerals from concentrated seawater, a by-product from salt production. EcoMag will build a high-purity magnesium salt production facility forecast to initially generate $70 million in annual revenue.
EcoMag’s technology also produces suitable feedstock for decarbonised magnesium metal production. Magnesium is considered a critical mineral throughout Australia, USA and EU with over 85% of global production concentrated in China. Being one-third lighter than aluminium and over three times lighter than steel, car manufacturers view magnesium as a low-cost strategy to achieve weight reduction in structural components. Reducing deadweight in vehicles is increasingly attractive as the supply of battery materials struggle to keep up with ever-growing demand.
EcoMag Chief Executive Tony Crimmins said the MBP highlights the significant role EcoMag can play in fostering a burgeoning downstream mineral processing industry in the Pilbara region.
“The Magnesium Business Park will lower the barrier to entry for other projects to establish themselves adjacent to the significant waste-to-resource opportunity near Karratha. “
“Beyond magnesium, the hypersaline brine is abundant in other minerals found in seawater, including sodium, potassium and boron. We hope to work with like-minded ventures to harness the full potential of this resource.”
“We anticipate that access to shared infrastructure will expedite already co-located businesses such as WRS Bioproducts to cultivate algae to produce beta-carotene.”
The MBP is a more than just producing a resource it becomes a flagship for other like-minded businesses to treat their waste in processes that can utilize their value. Currently Ecomag is looking at waste CO2 generated in the area to combine with their processes. There are many available substitutes for input that can be sourced if you have the knowledge to make use. The Federal, WA State government and regional commissions recognise and have supported EcoMag’s establishment in the area as it is doing good and stepping out where established business cannot. EcoMag is there to make profit but also to show that business leaders need to fight complacency and actively work to find better solutions.
While EcoMag’s initial project will process less than ten per cent of the magnesium contained within the waste stream — translating to over 6,000 tonnes per year of magnesium products — commercial expansion is planned to produce over 40,000 tonnes per year, which will be used in pharmaceutical and high-performance construction material applications. Complete utilisation of the magnesium-rich waste stream has the potential to generate beyond $1 billion in annual revenue.
EcoMag successfully passed the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility’s (NAIF) strategic investment process for a significant portion of the Karratha project. The Federal Government’s financier will make a final investment decision following satisfactory due diligence and further approval by the NAIF Board.
EcoMag is buoyed by the Federal Government’s revamped Critical Minerals Strategy released Tuesday. The long-awaited white paper unveiled by Resources and Northern Australia Minister Madeleine King champions bold projects embarking on downstream processing beyond ore beneficiation. The focus is on minerals that help deliver key technologies enabling the energy transition spanning end-uses in photovoltaics, energy storage, electrolysers and permanent magnets.
The announcement included a $500 million boost in Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility funding that is earmarked specifically for critical minerals projects, following a $2 billion Critical Minerals Facility administered to Export Finance Australia. Another $2 billion in funding for NAIF is being presented to parliament this week.
The announcement follows news that EcoMag successfully passed NAIF’s strategic investment process to fund a significant portion of EcoMag’s Karratha project. The Federal Government’s financier will make a final investment decision following satisfactory due diligence and further approval by the NAIF Board.
The Critical Minerals Strategy underlined the potential for Australia to emerge as a world leader in ESG performance. This is already underway, exemplified through a certification and life cycle analysis for Australian Battery Materials and a Battery Material Provenance Authenticationpilot presented by the Future Battery Industries CRC. EcoMag is well positioned to capitalise on a shift towards transparent supply chain traceability and has recently undertaken an LCA of its magnesium recovery process following ISO 14040/14044. The LCA was developed in partnership with German Aerospace Center (DLR) and is currently undergoing an audit process with TÜV SÜD. This follows a 2018 LCA study that indicated EcoMag’s approach embodied the lowest carbon footprint of its key competitors in the high-purity synthetic magnesium oxide (and hydroxide) market.
Figure 1. EcoMag’s process produces 30-50% lower carbon emissions than its competitors. German Aerospace Center e.V. Institute of Vehicle Concepts – Stuttgart, Germany.
The report emphasised the opportunity for Australia to harness the full potential life cycle value of its mineral resources. The announcement coincides with Geoscience Australia’s Atlas of Mine Waste, highlighting opportunities to reprocess previously mined material to extract critical minerals. In 2022, Australia’s environment ministers agreed to work with the private sector to design out waste and pollution, keep materials in use, and foster markets to achieve a circular economy by 2030. Led by Australia’s Chief Scientist, the National Science and Technology Council is assessing opportunities to leverage a circular economy approach to maximise the value and trade opportunities of critical minerals, including through recovery, reprocessing and recycling in Australia.
Rather than mining magnesium-rich ores, EcoMag’s technology embodies a circular economy framework by extracting magnesium from an existing mineral tailings stream (known as bitterns) from solar salt production. EcoMag reduces the total salinity of the bitterns it processes to a comparable level found in seawater. Magnesium is the third most abundant element dissolved in seawater. As such, the supply of magnesium from seawater is essentially inexhaustible.
Figure 2 EcoMag’s process reduces the total salinity of an existing waste stream, with the sole by-product more closely resembling the composition of seawater.
EcoMag’s high-purity magnesium oxide was recently validated as a fit-for-purpose feedstock by RedoxBlox, Inc. The San Diego-based company recently completed a US$20 million Series A funding round from high-profile energy market investors and energy transition-focused venture capital funds to scale their zero-carbon thermochemical energy storage systems. RedoxBlox’s patented technology uses magnesium and manganese-based pellets to facilitate the electrification of high-temperature industrial processes. A unique feature of RedoxBlox’s technology is that the thermochemical energy storage module allows natural gas power plant operators to convert existing or new gas turbines into a renewable energy storage system.
Figure 3 RedoxBlox’s energy storage technology for the grid and industrial heat applications.
This follows an announced Heads of Agreement between RedoxBlox and an Australian manganese company, Accelerate Resources Limited (ASX: AX8) in early 2023. By sourcing both its magnesium and manganese in the Pilbara, the hope is to lure RedoxBlox into establishing its downstream pellet processing facility in Australia. This would strategically position RedoxBlox adjacent to some of Australia’s largest industrial energy consumers, including remote mining operations currently reliant on high-cost diesel and natural gas.
The global market opportunity for energy storage in 2021 was estimated at 10 GW, with the market forecast to grow rapidly to 58 GW by 2030, according to projections published by BloombergNEF. EcoMag believes its high-grade, low-carbon magnesium oxide has a role to play in meeting the world’s future energy storage needs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | business.gov.au