Latrobe Magnesium's (LMG) innovative production process extracts magnesium metal and valuable by-products from magnesium-rich waste feedstocks. Its Latrobe Valley demonstration plant project will process almost 100% of fly ash into valuable products, including magnesium metal, Supplementary Cementitious Material (SCM), silica, char, iron oxide and calcium carbonate. LMG's low CO2 process can address potentially hazardous waste stockpiles and produce valuable products with downstream environmental benefits.
Supplementary Cementitious Material (SCM)
The major by-product of LMG's process is Supplementary Cementitious Material (SCM), which has a similar chemistry to standard Portland cement and is used as a cement replacement in concrete manufacture.
SCMs are added to concrete mixtures to improve durability, decrease permeability, aid in pumpability and improve the overall hardened properties of concrete. The addition of SCMs to concrete has grown over the past 30 years as a use for by-products of industrial processes, contributing to environmental and energy conservation.
Using LMG's SCM can:
- Replace up to 30% of Portland cement in concrete mixes
- Make stronger, more durable high-performance concretes
- Lower net energy consumption and CO2 emissions for concrete production
- Avoid 0.9 tonnes of CO2 per tonne otherwise produced in Portland cement-making process
- Produce no additional CO2 through the LMG process
Silica is a similar product to Supplementary Cementitious Material and can be used in the cement industry. This is because it is a fantastic and reliable admixture for concrete, as it results in improved engineering principles, reducing thermal cracking caused by heat from cement hydration. Moreover, it strengthens the overall durability against attack from sulphate and acidic waters and holistically improves strength. It delivers a similar setting time to regularly produced cement and aids in the hardiness and longevity of the final cement product.
Iron oxide, or more specifically, Hematite, is a high-grade iron product that can be used as a complementary feedstock to Iron Ore in steelmaking. Hematite is the most critical ore of iron, and Iron Ore is the primary source of iron in the global steelmaking and iron industries. Therefore, Hematite is an essential complement to sustain this market, which needs this Ore to maintain a solid industrial base. Nearly 98% of Iron Ore contributes to steelmaking. Hematite also has various other uses. However, its economic impact is minor compared to the reliance on iron ore production. Other applications include pigments, radiation shielding, and preparation for heavy media separation.
Calcium Carbonate is a pure lime product that can be used as an agricultural lime in agricultural industries. Adding lime to acidic soil results in less acidic conditions due to the alkaline properties of lime. Calcium Carbonate ranks high on the list as an agricultural lime solution with several liming materials available. It consists of limestone that undergoes getting crushed into a fine powder, which is unbelievably cost-effective for correcting acidity in agricultural soil. High-quality lime contains around 37-40% calcium. The solution is fantastic value for money, aiding improved agricultural output.
Using LMG’s MAgLime has the added benefit of the by-product being rich in Magnesium which benefits and promotes plant growth.
Char is produced from the acid leach step of the LMG process and can be used as a charcoal replacement in fuel products such as heating briquettes. Briquetting is a relied-upon technology used to densify agricultural residues and waste to minimise moisture content and create solutions that are easy to store, handle and transport. Char as a charcoal and fuel replacement is favourable due to its minor amount of environmental pollution, high density and high calorific value, and low processing costs. There is an increasingly high demand for diminishing fossil fuel consumption, which has led to finding alternative solutions for heating briquettes, with char being a sustainable and effective replacement here.
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