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Latrobe Magnesium investigates gravity separation for low cost magnesium recovery

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Latrobe Magnesium’s (ASX: LMG) initial gravity separation tests have achieved up to 32% iron removal from magnesium.

The company is developing a magnesium production plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, where it intends to harvest magnesium metal from industrial fly ash, a waste product of brown coal power generation.

Test work at CSIRO in Western Australia is ongoing, with the aim of increasing the recovery level to 50%.

Latrobe has achieved up to 55% iron removal using its hydromet process.

Increased iron removal leads to lower operating costs along with better feed stock and magnesium recoveries in the thermal reduction process.

Gravity separation is a lower cost process than chemical removal, however a combination of the two processes could also be a possibility.

Latrobe is investigating alternative iron removal methods to account for higher iron-contained fly ash, as is present in the Yallourn and RWE brown coal seams.

The company recently completed a Pre-Feasibility Study into using a world first combined hydromet/thermal reduction process to extract magnesium.

Construction of the plant is due to start in March 2013, with initial production expected a year later.

Latrobe plans to sell the refined product to Australian users.

Currently 100% of the 10,000 tonnes of magnesium consumed each year in Australia is imported.

The metal is increasingly being used in the manufacture of car parts, laptop computers, mobile phones and power tools, due to its good strength-to-weight ratio.

Quick facts: Latrobe Magnesium Ltd

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ASX:LMG
Market: ASX
Market Cap: $20.74 m
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