Canadian exploration company, West High Yield Resources
Ltd (WHY), is a magnesium developer with its sights set on
markets beyond the metal’s traditional uses in
aluminium alloys, die-casting and titanium or its
non-metallurgical magnesia applications.
"There are many new uses for magnesium, including magnesium
batteries as a lithium alternate, liquid batteries coupled with
solar energy storage techniques, automotive applications
including car bodies, engines and parts, electronic devices and
in the aviation industry," the company pointed out in its
corporate presentation, designed to tempt investors to back its
Record Ridge project in British Columbia.
In March this year, the company engaged in a Canadian dollar
(C$) 5m ($3.75m*) fundraising drive as it enters the final
stages of permitting at Record Ridge.
C$3m of this will be allocated to an environmental study and
mine development plan, required by the environmental assessment
certification and mine permit application processes.
The remaining C$2m is intended for use in the extraction and
processing of two 10,000 tonne bulk samples of magnesium and
gold, approved by the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and
Mines last year, which the company expects to complete in
The magnesium sample will be processed using a new
technology to produce 2,500 tonnes magnesium ingots, which
would fetch around $4,000/tonne at current US prices, according
to Frank Marasco, WHY’s CEO.
A preliminary economic assessment for Record Ridge, the
results of which WHY released in June 2013, presumes a
conventional open pit mine, a novel hydrometallurgical
processing plant, a calcined magnesia intermediate product
plant and a fused magnesia production plant.
Getting all the necessary approvals to take Record Ridge
into production has been a lengthy process.
"We are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel,"
Marasco told IM, noting that it has so
far been through a 10-12 year permitting process to secure the
licences it needs.
Marasco expects to be fully permitted within 18-20 months
from receipt of the C$3m permit funding, which will include one
year to write the required report, a six month government
review and a two-month period of leeway to rectify any
Once this stage has been completed, construction is slated
to begin on a four-plant electro-fused magnesia (EFM)
processing facility, which will consist of an ingot plant, an
oxide plant, a cement plant and a battery plant and would cost
an estimated C$200m.
On the record: WHY drilling at its magnesium
project in 2011.
West High Yield Resources
According to Marasco, the magnesium oxide (MgO) product
produced at WHY’s plant could replace oriented
strand board (OSB) and plywood in wallboard, while the
magnesia-based cement it intends to make would be of a superior
quality to bauxite-consuming Portland cement.
He added that magnesium-ion (Mg-ion) batteries had the
potential to hold up to 12-times the energy of their
lithium-ion (Li-ion) counterparts, which currently lead the
market. Mg-ion batteries are not yet a commercial reality, but
WHY’s remaining project development period leaves
time for the technology to move forward.
The 2013 PEA gave Record Ridge a pre-tax net present value
(NPV) of $1.339bn, at a 5% discount rate and an internal rate
of return (IRR) of 21% over a 42-year mine life.
The property has a measured and indicated resource of 43m
tonnes at 24.61% Mg, plus an inferred resource of 1.07m tonnes
at 24.37% Mg. Record Ridge would also produce a silica
by-product, which would provide WHY, which is listed on the
Toronto Venture Exchange, with an additional stream of
WHY has already received a letter of intent for the purchase
of up to 100,000 tpa magnesium ingot once Record Ridge enters
production. Marasco said that the material is being bought for
use in magnesium alloy-based manufacturing of rail hopper cars,
which could cut down car weight by 10-30% from current levels,
increasing net payload.
"We’re having a green revolution," he said.
"Everyone’s going green and magnesia is the
friendliest element on earth."
*Conversion made March 2016