Pidgeon or Electrolytic Technology The Choice for Modern China

Author(s) P.W. Baker
International Magnesium Association Conference in Rome, May 14-17, 2016


Prior to 1999 the global primary magnesium supply base was dominated by the electrolytic reduction process. However, over the past decade and a half many major western electrolytic plants have closed and major producers abandoned the industry and proposed electrolytic plant projects never materialized. Motivated by low investment cost, low cost labour and lax environmental standards primary Mg capacity rapidly shifted to China through the broad based but small scale application of the Pidgeon process. However, in that same period China itself has developed into a more sophisticated and developed nation no longer offering those same drivers. This paper highlights the key differences between the processes and asks which is more suitable for the future of magnesium and China.