Developing new silica and magnesium technology

Hydro and Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG) have entered into an agreement to develop new technology for the low-cost production of magnesium and silica using the Norwegian mineral olivine as a raw material.

December 19, 2008

The development project is expected to be completed within a time frame of one and a half years. The pilot plant will be located in Porsgrunn, Norway.

“This new technology could make it possible to produce raw materials for magnesium production at a significantly lower cost than previously,” says Executive Vice President Svein Richard Brandtzæg, responsible for technology development in Hydro.

“In addition, with this technology we will also produce silica, which among other applications is also used as a filler material in the production of car tires. This would improve the economy of this project in addition to the environmental improvements we will achieve with this technology,” says Brandtzæg.

He underlines that Hydro uses large amounts of pure magnesium as an alloying element in aluminium. The secure and long-term supply of magnesium at the right price is therefore important for the company.

New JV partnership: SilMag

Hydro has previously produced magnesium in Porsgrunn, Norway, and in Becancour, Canada, but decided to close the production in 2006 due to competition from low-priced Chinese metal.

The new technology will be developed through the joint venture SilMag, in which Hydro and AMG each hold a 50 percent share.

AMG, incorporated in the Netherlands, is a global leader in the production of highly engineered specialty metal products and advanced vacuum furnace systems. The company serves growing industries worldwide with its combination of metallurgical engineering expertise and production know-how. AMG is a market leader in many of its products and systems, which are critical to the production of key components for the aerospace, energy, electronics, optics, chemicals, construction and transportation industries.

In this partnership, Hydro will provide the magnesium technology, which is a further development of the production technology previously used in Porsgrunn and Becancour.

Olivine is a magnesium iron silicate, and one of the most common minerals.


Updated: October 11, 2016