Home Business Pakistan rich in magnesium to produce high-capacity energy-saving batteries

Pakistan rich in magnesium to produce high-capacity energy-saving batteries

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ISLAMABAD, May 22 (INP) — Pakistan has abundant deposits of magnesium, which need to be exploited for manufacture and export of magnesium-based energy-saving products. This can help fetch a huge fortune to the state coffers.

Chief Geologist at Balochistan-based Koh-e-Daleel Minerals Company (Pvt) Limited Abdul Bashir said this while talking to WealthPK.

“Magnesium occurs in more than 60 minerals but the prominent ones are magnesite, dolomite, carnallite, brucite, and olivine. It is considered to be the 8th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust.

“Magnesium and some other magnesium compounds can also be extracted from seawater, lake brines, and wells. Certain magnesium-bearing minerals occur in sedimentary rocks while it is usually found in igneous ones,” he said.

Bashir said magnesite was a principal ore of magnesium and usually occurred in the melange or ophiolitic belt in Khuzdar district of Balochistan.

In this region, substantial reserves of magnesium occur along with dolomite and other calcium-rich minerals. In Ras-Koh area, magnesite is found to some extent. Muslim Bagh is also rich in magnesium-rich areas. Magnesite-rich areas like Khuzdar and Waziristan are located in its south and north respectively. Muslim Bagh falls in the Ophiolite belt, having igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, olivine, and other rocks. It starts from Khuzdar and Wad and continues to the northern parts.

Talking to WealthPK, Bashir said, “Large-scale mining of magnesite and chromite is only operational in Muslim Bagh. It has been going on since 1901 from the British period through the conventional tunneling method. Mining can be productive through the open pit method and establishment of value addition units to fulfill the local needs and exports.”

He said magnesite was a promising element to manufacture high-capacity rechargeable batteries. The divalent nature of magnesium causes a high specific capacity and volumetric energy density.

Magnesium-based batteries do not form toxic compounds. It is heavier than lithium. So, magnesium-based batteries will be long-lasting. But still there is a dire need to find an appropriate material, chemically and electrochemically compatible with the magnesium anode, the respective cathode, and other parts of the battery. Through proper exploitation of magnesite, Pakistan can play a key role in the global magnesium-battery market in future.

Mining can be productive through the open pit method and the establishment of value-addition units to fulfil domestic needs and exports.

Talking to WealthPK, mining engineer and general secretary of the Institute of Mining Engineers Pakistan, Muhammad Yousaf said, “Magnesium, a lightweight metal is emerging as a key component of sustainable energy solutions. Magnesium-based batteries have promising energy storage chemistry and a robust supply chain. They are sustainable for engineers and have low raw material costs. Transition to magnesium from usually used lithium will provide an opportunity to store energy more efficiently at a lower cost”.

He said despite having large magnesium deposits, Pakistan was not benefitting from them. Lack of technology, research and development keeps it behind in manufacturing magnesium-based batteries and other value-added products. A large part of magnesium deposits are in remote areas where there is no proper infrastructure.

Yousaf said, “Currently, lithium-ion batteries are powering a variety of industrial and personal gadgets – electric vehicles, laptops, and cell phones. L-I batteries are expensive and lack greater stability, and longer lifetimes. They are unsafe as they puncture at high temperatures. However, magnesium-based batteries are not only safe but also do not tend to form dendrites with an increase in energy capacities and charge faster.”

Worldwide, the demand for high-capacity storage batteries is increasing and policymakers in Pakistan must consider it. By doing so, the country can position itself as a leading manufacturer of magnesium-based batteries. By leveraging its natural resources and fostering partnerships with international companies and other stakeholders, Pakistan can establish a worthy magnesium extraction and value-added industry.

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