Ongoing investment in specialty chemical product development is a key strategy for EcoMag to drive growth through an expanding product portfolio based on value differentiation. Find out about EcoMag’s collaboration with two of Australia’s leading research institution in this brief video.
EcoMag has teamed up with ASX listed Kalium Lakes Ltd (ASX:KLL) to sustainably extract magnesium from the brines left over after the potash has been harvested at the Beyondie Sulphate of Potash Project (BSOPP).
The joint venture plans to extract high purity hydrated magnesium carbonate as a precursor compound to producing magnesium oxides and hydroxides. The agreement follows successful pilot scale trials by EcoMag of the residual brines from the BSOPP’s pilot evaporation ponds during 2018 and 2019. The trials confirmed a high magnesium content (up to 9%) in Kalium’s waste feed brine and we produced 99.5% pure hydrated magnesium carbonate (HMC) with an overall recovery rate in excess of 95%.
EcoMag Chief Executive Officer Tony Crimmins said. “We plan to recycle the waste brines from the potash plant to produce a material that is then sold for use in cleaning up the environment, both air and water, and in more environmentally friendly products.”
For more information, please refer to the joint ASX announcement.
Pitt Street Research (www.pittstreetresearch.com) – an independent analyst providing issuer sponsored coverage for small to mid cap ASX companies in the Technology and Life Science sectors – have completed an analysis of EcoMag.
In “Specialty chemicals upside – Attractive play on magnesium purity”, they provide a comprehensive overview of the project, drawing attention to particular items of merit:
- An inexhaustible resource with zero exploration risk and a positive environmental outcome.
- Massive scope for expansion at the initial site.
- Good access to critical infrastructure.
- Vertical expansion opportunities into multiple downstream products.
- A wide market across diverse industries.
- Successful pilot plant operation, buyer product testing and off-take agreements.
- Primary approval (mining tenure) in place.
- Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility funding in due diligence.
- A DCF valuation of ~A$347.6m based solely on the initial plant (excluding horizontal and vertical expansion opportunities).
Based on their DCF valuation, Pitt Street Research estimate a value in excess of $3 per share.
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.
As a young business committed to the highest standards of environmental and social corporate citizenship, EcoMag is proud to formally launch its Reconciliation Action Plan during National Reconciliation Week.
EcoMag wishes to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this nation, and to pay respect to past, present and future Elders, and to the cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“When we started thinking about Indigenous engagement, we sat around trying to think up ways in which we might contribute to local communities,” EcoMag Chief Executive Officer, Tony Crimmins said. “It wasn’t until we started talking to people outside the organisation that we realised we were making an all too common mistake. We were trying to guess what would be good for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples rather than asking them.”
EcoMag searched for an appropriate framework for its Indigenous engagement, seeking a practical roadmap for action. Subsequent research took them to Reconciliation Australia, and to the concept of an action plan.
“We realised we were just at the start of a journey and that we needed guidance to take the first step in the right direction,” Mr Crimmins said. “We also knew that acknowledgement and respect were fine sentiments but essentially empty unless we also took action.”
EcoMag’s Reconciliation Action Plan contains a sequence of achievable, measurable steps and the company commits to its engagement with Traditional Owners being guided by core principles:
Acknowledgement and respect — EcoMag’s non-Indigenous staff recognise that they cannot fully understand the experiences and perspectives of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and undertake to engage with Traditional Owners with respect for their diversity and their history.
Relationships and engagement — EcoMag is committed to building effective social and professional relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who may be affected by the company’s operations.
Capacity building — EcoMag recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ strengths and capacity to contribute, and seeks a collaborative approach to building skills and providing opportunities to support local communities.
Autonomy — EcoMag recognises the need for all people to have autonomy in their lives and undertakes to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to listen to their perspectives, and where possible to implement their preferred solutions.
“As the name suggests, our Traditional Custodians have a long history of protecting and managing the land and sea that has sustained them for tens of thousands of years,” Mr Crimmins said. “We recycle and help to rehabilitate a waste stream which flows into the ocean. I like to think that we draw inspiration from our Traditional Custodians in this regard and I’m quite sure we can learn from them. I firmly believe that if the planet is to sustain us for tens of thousands of years into the future, we need to learn these lessons. The EcoMag team is excited about starting this journey and proud to be taking the first small steps, learning and hopefully contributing over time.”
EcoMag’s Reconciliation Action Plan is a public document, lodged with Reconciliation Australia, and available here.
Modelling undertaken as part of a recently completed study has confirmed the volume of bitterns available for processing is much larger than initially considered, and could potentially support vastly higher production levels.
As part of the ongoing regulatory approval process, EcoMag is providing bitterns dispersal modelling to the W.A. Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, taking into account 45 years of data for evaporation rates, rainfall patterns, tides, and extreme weather events such as the cyclones that occasionally strike the area.
“On average, we utilise only ten percent of the total waste stream,” EcoMag General Manager Shaun Triner said. “That’s not to say we could reliably expand production ten-fold because there is significant variability from year to year, but it looks like the resource could support production levels around six to eight times the initial plant.”
EcoMag Chief Executive Officer Tony Crimmins said that even at the initial proposed plant capacity, the project would add significantly to Karratha’s manufacturing output, generating around $130 million of revenue per year, almost all of it from exports.
“Karratha’s annual manufacturing output is around $740 million, so our initial plant would represent a significant boost,” he said. “But if, down the track, we were able to expand eight times, it could more than double current manufacturing output. It could potentially bring the region a billion dollars in annual revenue, not to mention raising around $25 million annually in royalties for Western Australia.
“However, it’s not all about the money. The potential social and community benefits are equally important.”
Initial plant construction is expected to generate 110 jobs and the company has a strong policy of preferring local suppliers.
“This reflects EcoMag’s commitment to the regional community,” Mr Crimmins said. “It also ensures that local expertise and specific knowledge of EcoMag’s operation is available for maintenance and expansion.”
“Any new project offers regional benefits of course,” Mr. Crimmins said. “What sets EcoMag apart is that our business is entirely outside the boom and bust cycle and the fly-in-fly-out employment practices of the resources industry that dominates the region. We would offer both permanent employment and economic diversification.”
The City of Karratha has long recognised the benefits of resource related investment but has also stressed the importance of diversifying the region’s economic base.
Specialty chemicals is a trillion dollar industry worldwide, but there are very few specialty chemicals businesses in Australia. EcoMag’s magnesium recycling plant utilises a proprietary process developed in South Korea to produce magnesium carbonate at extremely high purity levels.
“That’s important in two ways,” Mr Crimmins said. “Firstly, in speciality chemicals markets, price is driven by purity, and we produce the highest levels available. Secondly, our product is unusually flexible. The more you understand international magnesium markets the more astonishing you realise this metal is. Most people know that it goes into human health supplements but they don’t realise it’s used in plastics and rubber, steelmaking, fertilisers, toughened glass, water treatment, and a wide variety of foods and beverages, just to name a few applications.
“Critically, magnesium buyers don’t just want magnesium. They look for a particular compound of magnesium with minimal impurities and specific particle sizes, surface areas, etcetera. Most producers find it very difficult to meet these requirements but we’ve been providing samples to distributors for a year now, verifying that we can meet their stringent requirements with relative ease. This is partly because of the nature of our process and partly because our Chief Technology Officer, Professor Tam Tran is a world leader in hydrometallurgy.”
“That’s why we see such scope for expansion,” Mr Crimmins said. “It’s why we’re see EcoMag as conceivably a billion dollar business in the making with the potential to drive a specialty chemicals renaissance in Australia.”
EcoMag is delighted to announce the launch of EcoMag Direct Specialty Chemicals.
Academic and commercial research labs, industrial engineers, scientists and innovators can now order EcoMag specialty magnesium chemicals online for delivery Australia wide.
Initially EcoMag Direct sells Hydrated Magnesium Carbonate, Caustic Calcined Magnesia, Hard Burned Magnesia, and Magnesium Citrate, and in the not too distant future, we plan to add Dehydrated HydroMagnesite, Magnesium DiHydroxide, HydroTalcite, Magnesium Hydrogen Phosphate and more. Subject to regulatory approvals we’ll also extend our sales to labs overseas.
All products are laboratory reagent quality and over time we plan to become a first choice supplier of best-in-class magnesium materials to the science and research community world-wide.
For more information, visit ecomagdirect.com.
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.
Press Release: Monday 19th November 2:30pm
EcoMag Limited (EcoMag) is pleased to announce that the company’s proposal for Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) funding has moved to the Due Diligence phase of NAIF’s assessment process.
EcoMag utilises a proprietary technology to extract magnesium from a sustainable resource. The company recycles bitterns from Australia’s largest solar saltworks (view drone footage of the bittern stream here) to generate hydrated magnesium carbonate (HMC). EcoMag anticipates completion of a full scale plant around the end of 2019, capable of producing 80,000 tonnes per annum of HMC. This will become the seed chemical for a vertically integrated production chain of high value magnesium compounds for sale into international markets for industrial, environmental and specialty chemical applications.
The full-scale plant will be constructed in the Pilbara, in northern Western Australia, providing the remote region with much needed economic diversification away from reliance on iron ore, and vulnerability to commodity cycles. The plant will establish new manufacturing activity in northern Australia, boost economic growth in the region, generate construction and permanent employment, include improvements to local infrastructure, and help to attract other high value-added, technology related businesses.
“EcoMag’s business is inherently sustainable and environmentally beneficial,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer Tony Crimmins said. “We intend for EcoMag, and hopefully Australia more broadly, to leverage opportunities emerging from the industrial transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy.”
EcoMag’s plant will provide environmental benefits. The elemental composition of EcoMag’s residual bitterns is much closer to that of sea water in both relative and absolute terms, helping the local marine ecosystem. EcoMag’s proprietary process also results in lower carbon emissions than traditional magnesium extraction methods, providing a global benefit.
EcoMag also plans to raise equity in an Initial Public Offering in early 2019 to fund the construction of the full-scale plant. The company will 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.
Media enquiries: Walter Munro 0401 345 687
The Hon Paul FLETCHER, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities and the Hon Richard COLLESS, Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources and Western NSW, joined dignitaries from Korea’s Daejoo-KC Group and Chonnam National University, together with UNSW Sydney and the CSIRO at the launch of EcoMag’s Chatswood Research & Development Plant yesterday to celebrate the collaboration of nations, public and private sectors, and research and commercial organisations that has made EcoMag possible.
“This is a very exciting development,” the Hon Paul FLETCHER said. “The success that EcoMag has achieved depends on a number of factors. First of all, we are an open country, keen to do business with Korea and other countries who are our good friends. Second we have strong universities, strong research institutions, well-funded, successful, and increasingly engaged with industry, and thirdly we have Federal and State governments focused on supporting innovation and backing people who have a go, who take technology, who take a commercial risk to go out and find a market and find an economic opportunity.”
EcoMag has been testing its high purity magnesium extraction technology on waste stream bitterns (saline flows) produced by solar salt producers in Western Australia. The Chatswood Research & Development Plant will be used to continue to refine process engineering, in preparation for the construction next year of a full-scale plant capable of processing 500 million litres of bitterns annually.
“It’s great to be here and to see this facility come to fruition,” Hon Richard COLLESS said. “To see this sort of technology coming forward, providing high tech industry … is really exciting.”
EcoMag was delighted to host representatives from the Daejoo-KC Group including Mr. Jeong Wook SEO, Senior Vice President who spoke of the close relationship between Daejoo-KC and EcoMag, Dr. Tae Woong KIM, Director of Research, and Dr. Qwang Hee SHIN, Deputy Director of Research, as well as Professor Myong Jun KIM from Chonnam National University, Professor Rose AMAL A.O. of UNSW Sydney, and Dr. Jack STEELE, Director of Science Impact and Policy at the CSIRO.
The event also celebrated EcoMag’s Initial Public Offering of shares in a $3-5 million capital raising, and application for official quotation of EcoMag shares on the Australian Stock Exchange. For more information, refer to the prospectus.