Winchester magnesite deposit is located next to the Batchelor project, 75km south from Darwin in the Northern Territory. Korab's subsidiary AUSMAG PTY LTD is developing this project as a direct shipping ore quarry with projected annual capacity of 800,000 tonnes of saleable crushed and screened rock.
Feasibility study shows that the cost to supply crushed magnesite would be between AU$21 and AU$28 per tonne depending on annual production.
Current JORC resource estimates:
12.2Mt at 43.1% MgO indicated + 4.4Mt at 43.6% MgO inferred.
Project is located just 30 minutes from the suburbs of Darwin. Rail line, gas pipeline, sealed transcontinental highway and high voltage power lines cross the project area providing the project with excellent basic infrastructure and logistics.
Magnesite is primarily used in production of refractory bricks for lining of steel furnaces, high purity glass kilns, steel desulfurisation, flame retardants, oil and gas production, nickel and cobalt hydrometallurgy, light-weight, high-strength fire-proof building and construction materials and production of magnesium metal and its alloys.
Another use is in commercial production of high-capacity magnesium-ion batteries which have storage capacity between 4-8 times greater than lithium-ion batteries and can be charge about 10 times faster. Magnesium may also be used to create superconductors which can operate at over 35K.
Magnesium metal is two thirds lighter than aluminum and 75% lighter than steel. Magnesium is the lightest of all metals used as the basis for constructional alloys. It is this property which entices automobile manufacturers to replace denser materials, not only steels, cast irons and copper base alloys but even aluminum alloys by magnesium based alloys. The requirement to reduce the weight of car components as a result in part of the introduction of legislation limiting emission continues to support demand for magnesium. The growth rate over the next 10 years has been forecast to be 7% per annum.
Another area of magnesium use is the rapidly developing field of superconductivity. Magnesium is a key element in magnesium diboride MgB2 which becomes super conductive at a temperature of 39K. Magnesium diboride superconductors are primarily used in the health sector to build compact MRI scanning equipment and in defence sector to build military naval propulsion electric engines and electric turbo fan engines for military aircraft.
Another rapidly growing sector where magnesite is becoming preferred material is building and construction industry where magnesium oxide is becoming a material of choice for structural applications, internal and external finishes, decorative applications and furniture. Magnesium oxide (MgO) board has a density of around 0.8-1.1g/cm3 is easy to transport and install. It has intensity of impact resistance 2-3 times greater than wall of gypsum board and is about 10 times stronger than gyprock. MgO board can be glued-on, cut down, nailed, veneered, painted, sawn, planed, thin panels of the board can be easily cut by knife. Most importantly, it is flexible, fireproof, weather proof and breathable. It remains flameless at 1,200 degrees (non-flammability: GB8624 grade A), resistant to deformation in wet, and dry, hot and cold conditions. MgO board is also a great sound insulator - sound loss through a 6mm board is - 29dB
NanoMag is a patented environmentally friendly process for the production and marketing of high strength, light weight magnesium sheet with nanometer microstructures for automotive, aerospace, military, biomedical and other applications. The process offers numerous advantages in material integrity and cost savings over any other product now available. The key to the NanoMag technology is its ability to create fine-grained strengthening of magnesium alloys at low cost. The net result is a stronger, more reliable, more formable and lighter weight magnesium sheet with properties similar to steel and with a comparable strength to density ratio as that of steel but at one-fourth the weight. Because of its lighter weight, substituting magnesium sheet for aluminum and other materials reduces vehicle fuel consumption. It also offers greater personal protection in military applications.
In addition to military, automotive, aviation and aerospace applications NanoMag can be used as a base material for the manufacture of fuel cells and electronic products. It is widely believed this new process will gain wide acceptance in the biomedical industry to produce temporary connecting pins and plates since magnesium dissolves in the body with no adverse effects. The density and strength of NanoMag material is more like human bone than virtually any other currently popular implant materials. Because of this, the process can be used to produce biodegradable implants for hard tissue.