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Latrobe Magnesium encouraged by magnesium recovery results

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Latrobe Magnesium (ASX: LMG) has received highly encouraging results from initial analytical work on its magnesium recovery process suggesting higher value is likely from the cementitious component of future magnesium production.

Latrobe approached CSIRO last year and commissioned a program of test work on the production of magnesium and cementitious material from Latrobe Valley brown coal fly ash.

The residue material produced was tested for its suitability as a feedstock for the cement industry.

The material was found to contain a belite, which is traditionally used in slow setting cement, in appropriate concentration.

CSIRO and Engineered Material Solutions (EMS) have successfully replicated Latrobe’s Hydromet process in a scaled up test.

CSIRO scaled up the process some four times by volume compared to previous test work.

Latrobe considered two different routes for the use of its material.

Firstly, reprocessing the cementitious material to make an alite, the major and preferred component of Portland cement which is fast setting and sold at a higher price, and secondly using the existing belite material as a supplementary cementitious material replacement in Portland cement with very little additional processing.

Both the XRF and the XRD analyses showed that the reprocessing was successful in producing both an alite and a belite in appropriate portions to produce a Portland cement.

EMS conducted the tests using Latrobe’s cementitious material as a supplementary cementitious replacement, benchmarking Latrobe’s material against a local fine grade fly ash that typically performs well in concrete.

At 30% Portland cement replacement, Latrobe’s material out-performed this fly ash.

Latrobe’s cementitious material is shown to be more reactive than normal grade fly ash.

EMS is still finishing the late age strength tests and expects to complete these in about two weeks.

Latrobe will supply EMS with a large quantity of cementitious material for some further concrete type test work assessing how the belite material behaves when using chemical admixtures in a mix with aggregate, and also characteristics such as drying shrinkage and durability type testing.

This month the company has been visiting and assessing a number of laboratories with large scale capacity to produce this material.

Latrobe will also need to carry out a cost benefit analysis in relation to either reprocessing the belite material into the preferred alite material or simply using the material as a replacement for supplementary cementitious material.

Market demand for these alternative products within the Latrobe Valley will also need to be part of this consideration.


Magnesium production plant

Latrobe Magnesium is developing a magnesium production plant in Victoria's Latrobe Valley using a patented extraction process that utilises the industrial fly ash, which is currently a waste stream from brown coal power generation.
 
It recently completed a pre-feasibility study validating its combined Hydromet/thermal reduction process that extracts the metal.
 
Production from the initial 5,000 tonne per annum magnesium plant is due to start in July 2015. The plant will be in the heart of Victoria’s coal power generation precinct, providing immediate access to feedstock.
 
The company's refined magnesium will be sold under long term contracts to the domestic market and the U.S.


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Quick facts: Latrobe Magnesium Ltd

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