MGX Minerals, a Canada-based mining and technology company, has signed an agreement with Finnish engineering equipment provider Metso Outotec to upgrade its silicon project in British Columbia.
The company said Metso Outotec had been tasked with providing design, equipment and mechanical engineering to process high-grade silica from its Gibraltar silica deposit into silicon metal.
The company said the primary piece of process equipment would be a submerged arc furnace. The electric furnace generates heat up to 1600 degrees Celsius, sufficient to melt the quartzite. The liquid metal is then tapped and poured into brocks and roughly crushed into pieces for shipment.
The Gibraltar silica deposit covers a sedimentary clastic-carbonate rock package located near Kootenay and White River, British Columbia. MGX Minerals said metallurgical testing on an ore ton sampling has indicated that the material is "chemically suitable" for silicon production.
The company explained that the demand for silicon metal continues to grow, and recent supply chain bottlenecks have "limited overall supply," which has created an opportunity for the distribution of silicon across Asia.