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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 | business.gov.au

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.

EcoMag sequestration of CO2 waste into real value product

For the next 100 years the search to find a way of putting CO2 back into solid format away from the air and away from the oceans will continue. But in order for it to be practical, this solid format must have value and must not simply be treated as waste if it is to make a real change in our approach to dealing with the excessive amount of CO2 being produced very dayAt EcoMag, we have now proven that we can incorporate CO2 into our process and make product that is highly sought after and in demand in both the pharmaceutical and building industries.

. Near our Karratha facility we have a number of CO2 producers whose CO2 waste we could readily capture and transport to our site for Synthetic Magnesium production of Magnesium Carbonate (HMC), Magnesium that is the most pure and with the lowest carbon footprint. HMC is used for production of magnesium supplements which is a trending natural daily health requirement. The plastics industry also uses HMC to produce fire preventative coating for electrical wire to stop fires in aircraft. The glass produced for mobile phones uses HMC to make it strong and this glass can also be used to make high strength engineered glass building structures. The highest usage of entrapped CO2 is in building fabrication. Instead of plasterboard and other external cladding, it comes with the added benefit of being light and fire resistant. So putting CO2 back into structures requires a company like EcoMag that has true CO2 sequestration technology and derived product that is highly profitable. Please listen to the interview attached to understand more about what EcoMag is doing in the ESG environment and why we endeavour to be leaders in this industry

Click here to hear the interview with ABC radio and CEO Tony Crimmins listen

Change Climate by inspiring our Engineers to think of the Environment

It was used as a political carrot, but it is now a call for the younger generation to change our perspective. Did you know that some older engineers and their companies still don’t believe in climate change? When I left university as a young chemical engineer some 30 years ago I believed that we could change the world, but the more engineering companies I worked for, the more I felt they dulled my thinking and forced me to be just another cog in the machine. I now feel that my idealistic belief that we can change things doesn’t seem to resonate as much with the older generation of engineers as it does with the younger ones, so now we need to entrust the safety of the planet to young engineers.

At UNSW chemical engineers have been taught to consider the carbon footprint of engineering processes. “For the past 10 years energy and emission impacts have been incorporated into our core learnings’ says Professor Rose Amal, “Chemical engineers need to consider the impact of their work on our planet. Nowadays chemical engineering graduates don’t just accept previous practices but they innovate with the environment in mind”.

EcoMag welcomes young engineers into the team and “we try to push their way of thinking to be as far reaching as possible” says Dr Tam Tran, chief scientist at Ecomag. “The only way we are going to adequately address climate change is to have all engineers focused on solutions”. EcoMag has the opportunity to show what can be achieved through resource recovery, without impacting negatively the environment.

EcoMag makes the purest magnesium for the food and pharmaceutical markets, a highly sought-after material for the wellness industry. Magnesium has moved up from number 4 to number 3 on the supplement register. The general community and even medical doctors have been surprised at how a diet higher in magnesium is able to relieve inflammation. This has led to a big demand for organic magnesium and there are only a few suppliers that can provide such high purity products. It is important to note that our magnesium comes from a concentrated form of ocean water, free from all harmful impurities and heavy metals.

Uniquely, EcoMag recovers its magnesium from highly concentrated magnesium reject bitterns/brines dumped into the ocean by solar salt fields or stored in tailing ponds by potash producers. These are waste streams that are produced from seawater or subterranean brines that have been sun dried for an extended time. As a result, EcoMag magnesium products have a far lower carbon footprint than any other commercial product currently on the market. Removing the magnesium further reduces the impact of the original waste during discharge rendering it more acceptable for ocean outfall.

In addition, EcoMag has also started developing processes for CO2 sequestration using the magnesium waste streams, taking this waste gas from a nearby industry and using it to make the pharmaceutical magnesium. In this respect, two waste streams are combined to make highly profitable products in a process that has true green credentials. At EcoMag we have the opportunity to make our magnesium pharmaceutical grade products, earning real money whilst treating the environment with care and respect.

‘Our work with UNSW and CSIRO extends into making MgO structures that are highly porous (mesoporous). These are used to hold CO2 to react with H2 to make renewable methane/methanol that can be used as fuel and chemical feedstocks”. Tam remarks “Australia has an opportunity to make use of its resources for the good of the world”  

Every young engineer who works at EcoMag are all inspired with this strategy, producing novel and disruptive products with great creativity and care for the environment. We are further developing building boards that are fire resistant and products having highly porous structure that can be used as drug carrier for slow-release applications. We are actively seeking potential partners to work in these areas toward commercialization.

We are thankful to the Western Australian and the NSW state governments for their grant support to conduct our work.

Media contacts:

  • EcoMag Ltd Communications

M: 0476 201 056, E: admin@ecomagnesium.com

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” – Idioms that ring true

An innovative Australian project to produce high-value magnesium products from existing waste-water streams from salt production in the Pilbara.  Processing plant construction activities start.

Having completed its land/resource access agreements, the secret that’s about to become public knowledge is that EcoMag Ltd, the maker of the purest specialty magnesium materials used as food and pharma-nutraceutical ingredients, has started the build on its demonstration project near Karratha WA. The company is the first of its kind to process a true waste, a reject bittern from solar salt operations, into high value products. It has been supported by the Western Australian Government as an innovative process, in which a resource is recovered without impacting negatively on the environment. Over the past few years EcoMag Ltd has received support from the State Government’s Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants Program.

The treatment of waste streams and tailings is becoming the new frontier for resource development. It works as long as there is an appropriate structure for Industry symbiosis.  Giving away waste is not as easy as it sounds when one of the main deterrents is the tightly regulated framework making it difficult and extremely time consuming for new entrants into the waste processing business. This is all sorted now for EcoMag Limited. The company has the necessary agreements to start its build and it has started cleaning up the site in Karratha ready to produce high purity magnesium materials with the lowest carbon footprint. The company has divided its production growth path into three phases, in order to allow for controlled market penetration and to secure investment through proven technology and proof of sales.

Another Idiom which springs to mind, “The world is your oyster” also rings true for EcoMag as we are also completing our project work on using CO2 as one of our process streams. In fact we can provide some solutions to the CO2 sequestration debate, with useful materials made using waste CO2 instead of sending it to landfill for future generations to clean up. Imagine; a business that uses two waste streams to produce a sustainable and profitable material. Watch this company as it further develops its range of disruptive materials to be announced soon.