8th World Antimony Forum

Guiyang, Guizhou, China

12th Rare Earth Summit

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

11th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

9th Magnesium Summit

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

13th World InBiGeGa Forum

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

7th World Antimony Forum

June 13-14, 2019
Changsha, Hunan, China

7th Refractory & Abrasive Materials Summit 2019

May 23-24, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

10th Aluminum Raw Materials Summit

May 16-17, 2019
Zhengzhou, Henan, China

11th Rare Earth Summit

May 9-10, 2019
Qingdao, Shandong, China

8th Magnesium Summit

April 11-12, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China

12th World InBiGeGa Forum

March 14-15, 2019
Zhuhai, Guangdong, China
Joel Fournier: Electrolytic production technology set to reestablish Canadian magnesium metal production
----Interview with Dr. Joel Fournier, President and CEO of Alliance Magnesium Inc.
Alliance Magnesium is a privately-owned Canadian company dedicated to the production of Magnesium metal and other high value minerals. Alliance Magnesium aims at becoming one of the most important suppliers of pure magnesium metal for all major automobile and transport clients in the Western World.

Asian Metal: Thank you for taking some to take part in this interview. Could you please give us a background on your company and its current state of production?

Joel: Of course. Alliance Magnesium is a Canadian company with a focus on making a difference in the magnesium market through the use of the electrolytic production process. We have already secured nearly 300 million tons of serpentine raw materials containing nearly 26% of magnesium. The deposit was formerly a property belonging to Noranda, known as Magnola, which we will continue to develop and improve as we steadily approach our full scale production of magnesium metal by 2018. It is our hope that we will be able to positively impact the environmental aspect of the market, while enduring economic successes as well.

Asian Metal: What does the timeline currently look like for your facility to reach full production?

Joel: Starting in early 2015, we will begin our three phase development plan, beginning with the construction of our demonstration plant. Over the course the next six to eight months, we will be completing the construction of this plant so that we can guarantee the quality of our magnesium on a smaller scale in order to introduce to the market. Phase II will take place through 2016, when we will construct the first production plant using the electrolytic process to produce about six kilotons of material. We aim to have Phase III completed by the end of 2018, in which our full scale production plant containing 27 active electrolytic cells will be completed with a capacity of up to 50 kilotons.

Asian Metal: As you previously mentioned, environmental issues have been called into question regarding the production of magnesium metal in the past, so how does your method of refining differ from other techniques in the industry?

Joel: While the thermal process of production works well and produces material of relatively good quality, this process requires an immense amount of energy and large volumes of reducing agents such as carbon sources. A large carbon footprint is no longer compatible with the future of the magnesium market, especially when the goal of the clean automotive initiative is to reduce such carbon emissions. Also, our process utilizes serpentine, which contains magnesium in the oxide form that will not release any carbon dioxide. In conjunction with a clean raw material, our use of use of hydroelectricity would result in our production being the cleanest in the world.

Asian Metal: There has been a considerable amount of optimism surrounding the North American downstream magnesium market recently, despite subdued demand. Where do you see the market headed while you prepare for full scale production by 2018?

Joel: We feel that the growing automotive and aerospace industries will provide an opening for large scale magnesium production to return to Canada. Prior to the global recession in 2008, Quebec had a major foothold within the magnesium market, and we will look to expand on that position into the future. Based on our projections, we feel that we can take our prior experience and technical improvements and revamp the Canadian magnesium market altogether. A growing demand will require a more readily accessible source of material.

Asian Metal: With prices for magnesium metal prices at their lowest levels since prior to the global recession in 2008, what kind of competitive advantage can your product offer?

Joel: The low cost of our subsidized hydroelectric energy is allowing us to produce our material in an extremely efficient and low cost manner. We bring with us years of experience and knowledge of not only the magnesium market, but innovative technological advancements as well. While we see the prices for magnesium at such low levels right now, we have found that rising aluminum prices have correlated with a strengthening magnesium market; so we think this is only a temporary issue. Through our analysis of our capex, production costs, and energy rates, we will be able to sell our magnesium at costs among the lowest in the world. Another one of our targets will be to provide specialty alloys that will carry premiums which will support our margins as well.

Asian Metal: What kind of impact do you expect upon your emergence into the market?

Joel: We have drawn significant interest from automotive OEM producers already and will be looking forward to solidifying agreements with them following the completion of our production facility. Our main targets will be North American consumers in Canada, the United States, and Canada as well as some small business in Europe. While the market for lightweight technologies improves, consumers will be increasingly interested in accessing material produced in North America.
Thank you for your time, and good luck with the completion of your project!