Turning waste into by-products

Alliance Magnesium is looking far ahead for its own process-separated waste: all the extracted by-products have potential for recovery, namely silica, iron, nickel and cobalt.

The last company to operate the current site disposed of 70% of tailings at the end of its magnesium extraction process. Alliance Magnesium, on the other hand, will take advantage of the wealth of its resources to help the environment. The ultimate goal is to dispose of a maximum of 5% of all raw material used.

Amorphous silica produced by Alliance Magnesium

Its main by-product is amorphous silica, accounting for 40% of raw material used. This product is known to be safe and non-carcinogenic, unlike crystalline silica.

Alliance Magnesium’s production of silica can improve the environmental record of Quebec’s industrial cement production. Each tonne of amorphous silica used in manufacturing cement has been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.8 t. A study conducted for Alliance Magnesium in partnership with the Faculty of Engineering of the Université de Sherbrooke under the supervision of researcher Arezki Tagnit-Hamou led to the filing of a general patent. The study demonstrated that the silica developed and produced by Alliance Magnesium could be used as a partial replacement for Portland cement in concrete.

Other high-value metals

Alliance Magnesium could also extract nickel and cobalt in later stages of development. These metals are used, among other things, in the battery industry for electric cars.