QSLIC Primary Magnesium Plant

Strong partnership with QSLIC is our foundation in China

Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co. | China | 2009–2016







World’s largest

magnesium primary smelter


  • QSLIC is China’s largest producer of potash. As part of the Chinese government’s regional development strategy, a plan was developed to create an integrated manufacturing complex comprised of eight process plants.
  • The smelter will be the largest electrolytic magnesium plant in the world, producing nearly 15% of the world’s magnesium and further expansion is already planned.
  • The unique feedstock and harsh site conditions made it necessary to design significant process-and-equipment modifications.
  • Project delivery was challenging. The design was technically complex, and this was compounded by the challenges associated with a multinational-participant profile, high site elevation, severe seismic zoning, and remoteness.


  • The project scope included the transfer of technology documents; basic engineering; the design of core technology equipment; engineering and construction blueprint delivery; systems-and-process control design; and commissioning service.
  • The magnesium smelter, which doubled in capacity as part of the project's design basis, will use 85% renewable energy supplemented by high-efficiency cogenerated thermal power to produce magnesium metal. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% per tonne of magnesium produced when compared with the existing Chinese magnesium-industry average.
  • Feedstock is provided by solar-concentrated magnesium-chloride tailings from the potash plant. Chlorine by-products go into the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride for China’s construction industry.
  • The calcium carbide smelter we developed was the largest (in terms of its design capacity) ever built.


  • Received International Bentley 2013 Be Inspired Award Innovation in Mining and Metals; Engineers Australia, 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards – Highly Commended; and CCBC presented the 2012 Member of the Year Gold Award for collaboration between QSLIC and Hatch.
  • Higher labor productivity. The new operation is forecast to require just 20% – 25% of the labor based on actual labor/production data for existing Chinese smelters and for the previous installation of this technology in Canada
  • The electrolytic-based process will produce less than 6.5 kg CO2 per kg of Mg. This is an 85% improvement in CO2 emissions compared to China’s current Pidgeon Mg production process. This improvement is attributable to the fact that no carbon is associated with the Qinghai feedstock; that the energy consumption per kg Mg produced is substantially less; and finally, that 85% of the energy comes from renewables.

“Hatch is a very professional engineering firm.”

Mr.Kangmin Xie | Vice President, QSLIC

“Hatch is the best engineering firm QSLIC has worked with.”

Mr. Hai | Vice President, Research & Technology, QSLIC

Project numbers

21,000-I/0 distributed-control system now connects with local PLCs
6.5 kg of CO2 is produced per kg of Mg with the electrolytic-based process.

Services & technologies provided


Energy optimization


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