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Submission details
Submission ID 018 #
Submission date 02 Jul 2020
Contact Clayton Cross
Submission represents the view of Magnium Australia
Submission comments

We are undertaking a feasibility study to build a magnesium foundry proximate to Darwin. We propose to make a final decision within the next 3-6 months. Construction to commence in late 2021.

The project will cost $450 million and commence operating in 2023 and is estimated to create 1,100 jobs during construction. Ongoing eco-system will create 800 jobs. We are committed to a strong Indigenous engagement regardless of location.

As background magnesium is one of a handful of critical elements found across Australia. While Australia, has the supply of the magnesium ore, there is significant global demand for a finished magnesium metal. Australia alone imports of the magnesium metal total around 10,000tpa. More significantly CSIRO has developed the technology to build best in breed global magnesium production process.

The current process is effectively a monopoly based on cheap labour inputs and no boundaries on environmental impact. This current process has an end of life and Australia has the opportunity to step up and lead with globally patented technology.

It is our goal to drive this opportunity forward for Australia. Leaving aside many relevant factors the cost of energy will be the significant factor. We believe it is an energy investment. It is also a long term requirement ie we are planning for 30-year life cycle. Per tonne requirements below and we are proposing a 30,000tpa foundry. The potential is to scale to 100,000tpa. KWh 19,085 per tonne.

Darwin or the Northern Territory (NT) could be the location of the foundry, it is perfectly placed close to overseas markets, a deep harbour and has a natural advantage in relation to feedstock (available magnesium ore). However, because the NT energy prices are too high and this opportunity will likely be lost.

US and China energy prices are supported by the government and strategically addressed as a result their prices is significantly cheaper than Australia. Hence our manufacturing industries are not competitive with the world's largest economies. If the magnesium plant was built in NT, it would create its own ecosystem.

Firstly we have a competitive advantage in natural resources. Secondly, we have a competitive global technology advantage. This process has been patented globally. Thirdly it will allow an advanced manufacturing industry to develop and Australia to become global leaders. Fourthly, it would place Darwin in the advanced critical mineral industry on the global stage.

Overall if NT energy prices were competitive instead of restrictive the foundry would make a significant impact on the target set by the commission.

Submission files - click a document name to view or download the file
Attachment 1 Enduring borders and clear skies (496.9 KB)
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