Magnesium is a light metal that has numerous applications such as for structural material, metallurgical additive in steelmaking, and chemicals. The current dominant route to produce magnesium is via the Pidgeon process in China. This process is unsustainable since it is energy intensive and has a high Global Warming Potential compared to other processes, but meets the nature of local economics in China which require low capital cost and labour intensive. Australia currently does not produce magnesium, but the abundance of raw materials such as magnesite and dolomite make it possible to produce magnesium metal. This paper will analyse the progress of magnesium production in the world, identify the problems and technical challenges associated with current and alternative technologies, e.g. metallothermic (silicothermic, aluminothermic, carbothermic), electrolytic, and Solid Oxide Membrane route; and examine the future prospect of magnesium industry especially in Australia.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/bmonaghan/22/