China to tap salt lakes for high-grade magnesia

By IM Staff
Published: Friday, 30 August 2019

Mineral rich lakes on Qinghai’s mountain plateaus earmarked for resource extraction.

Mineral-rich salt lakes in central China’s Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a mountainous region of the southwest Qinghai province, are being targeted as sources of high-grade magnesia, along with a host of other minerals.

Policy proposals from the prefecture’s government published in late July outlined the plans, but without giving a timeline or indication of how much money it plans to put into the scheme.

The brine lakes are already being exploited for potash and sodium, with potassium chloride production estimated to be around 8.5 million tonnes per year.

But the local government now plans to develop a comprehensive industrial system for producing magnesium, lithium, boron, bromine, value-added fertilizers, fine chemicals and other resources.

According to government statements, it intends to build plants capable of producing highly pure magnesium-based products, including 400,000 tpy of magnesium hydroxide and 500,000 tpy of high-grade magnesium oxide for refractory materials and flame-retardant applications.

The local government also believes that Haixi’s salt lakes could also support a local lithium industry worth billions of yuan.