- A world-class metal technology company
- Technical team consists of global authorities in magnesium production and research
- Commercialized pilot plant poised to begin production soon
What Western Magnesium does:
Currently, China controls 86% of the market for the metal and the firm has its roots around a decade ago when a team came together with the aim of bringing production of the metal back to the USA, where no new plant has been built in the last 50 years. The US controls 6% of the magnesium market but the production process is outdated, has a big environmental impact and high costs.
The company's research and development (R&D) efforts have come up with a proprietary technology, which can generate magnesium metal with low labor, high automation, low energy and, significantly, with zero toxic byproducts and waste.
This continuous silicothermic process means the firm can be price competitive; can scale up easily and be environmentally friendly, it says.
Magnesium has a range of uses and is a composite metal, such that it is made to use aluminum and titanium. It is essential in a range of industries, including automotive, aviation, energy and military. It is 80% lighter than steel and 60% lighter than titanium and yet is as strong as steel.
How is it doing:
On June 2, 2021, the company told investors it had reached a major milestone in its plans, revealing it had now completed building the reactor at the plant.
This development, it said, had brought forward the company's previous timeline, which was that it aimed to produce the metal from the pilot plant in Canada by the end of 2021. Now, production is set for the purposes of testing, certification, and distribution within the next 90 days.
The company noted that this new "furnace will be the first of its kind, and a major step towards being able to operate a silicothermic reactor system from open atmosphere to a sealed vacuum space on a continuous basis".
A continuous internally heated reduction furnace of this nature coupled with the proprietary Western Magnesium condenser will allow for maximum continuous production from pit or stockpile, to magnesium metal, to the end-user in timely manner. A process that assembly line manufacturers have longed for, it said in a statement.
The development also coincided with the opening of the company's Washington, DC head office, which will better facilitate discussions with end user clients in various industries, to start the process of its metal certification, which will culminate in purchase order agreements, it added.
And on May 31 this year, the company announced the closing of the first tranche of a previously announced non-brokered private placement for gross proceeds of C$679,044.
The first tranche closed on 5,223,420 units at a price of C$0.13 each. The maximum offering is for gross proceeds of up to C$3 million. The company had said previously the proceeds would be used for working capital and to complete the commercialized pilot plant.
Also in May, the group announced a convertible note financing amounting to C$100,000. The notes bear interest at 12% per year with a maturity date of one year following the closing.
And in April, the group said it had launched a new division to lead formal sales and regulatory engagements with the public and private sector to be led by Washington DC veteran and current Western Magnesium board member Peter O’Rourke.
A key part of the division’s mandate is to focus on creating opportunities for Western Magnesium to build production facilities in strategic US states, in partnership with the US Department of Defense.
On the construction of the commercialized pilot plant, in February, the company said industrial construction was ongoing and progressing well, with no incidents to report. It noted the following accomplishments:
- A state-of-the-art security, access, and networking system has been installed in the building and is functioning well
- In January this year, the initial training of 11 new operations personnel was completed
- Full staff occupancy has begun, now that workspace facilities such as showers, washrooms, and breakroom facilities have been completed.
- Completion of pilot plant project
- First production
- Magnesium price moves
What the boss says:
In the latest release about the reactor buildout, executive chairman Ed Lee told investors: "This reactor unit is a significant step forward that will enable the company to enter the marketplace with its proprietary continuous condenser, and will secure Western Magnesium’s future for decades to come.
"Initial metal production will allow management to work closely with end users in the automotive, aerospace, and ecofriendly technology companies and the Department of Defense to assess the amount of metal needed for their assembly line manufacturing, and the form in which they will need the metal."
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