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Canada invests $12M in Alliance Magnesium; recycling serpentine tailings to produce magnesium

The government of Canada is investing $12 million in Alliance Magnesium (AMI). The funding is being provided by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which works with Canadian companies to bring clean technologies to market.

Decades of chrysotile-asbestos mining in Québec generated huge tailings of serpentine rock with 23.3% magnesium metal content. Alliance Magnesium Inc is a privately-owned Canadian company that has developed a patented electrolysis clean tech technology for the production of magnesium (Mg) from serpentine.

Building on the success of its pilot plant in Québec, Alliance Magnesium will use the SDTC funding to support the second phase of demonstrating its clean magnesium production technology.

In August, Alliance Magnesium announced signed a financing agreement with Investissement Québec and the Government of Québec’s Economic Development Fund in the amount of $30.9 million for the construction of its First Commercial Phase at its facility in Danville, Québec. This investment is part of a $104.9-million financial package which includes other institutional partners. The financing is in the form of a $17.5 million loan and a $13.4 million equity interest.



It makes one wonder, how do the economics compare to recovery from seawater... or is the primary benefit the removal of the hazard from the serpentine fibers?


One may believe that the primary mover is the removal of 880+ million tons of hazardous serpentine fibers. The remaining asbestos fibers will be destroyed with an acid process.

The high purity magnesium produced will be sold on the world market place.


The Alliance site does not refer to a specific method for its pilot plant, but this paper suggests that acid extraction IS the method of destruction of the serpentine.

Serpentine is Mg3Si2O5(OH)4, so extraction of the magnesium leaves essentially quartz and/or silicic acid.

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