In 1978, the Client partnership selected Fluor Nederland to undertake engineering, procurement, and construction for the $100 million, 100,000-metric-tons-per-year magnesium plant, and the $25 million brine-solution mining facilities.
The scope of work included two main processing facilities, four 40-meter (132 foot) wide separation tanks, two massive dolime storage units, the brine plant (located 15 miles from the chemical plant), a pipeline connecting the two plants, loading / unloading facilities.
The Wildervank Canal will be used to transport magnesium to Billiton's customers worldwide.
To mine the magnesium, a steel-casing pipe (in which two others are suspended) is sunk through a bore hole to the deposit. Water is injected downward, forcing brine to the surface where it is pumped via the pipeline to the plant. Here, brine is combined with dolime, a material obtained by kiln-burning dolomite. In this wet-phase, the resulting magnesium hydroxide is thickened, washed and then filtered.
In the subsequent dry phase, workers heat the magnesium hydroxide to evaporate water content, leaving a white powder. To achieve the correct density and final product, the powder is compressed to form almond-shaped briquettes. These are fired at 2,000 degrees C.
Fluor Nederland project team worked closely with the Client and government officials to plan for environmental safeguards, particularly to dampen noise and contain dust particle from the manufacturing operation. Computer calculations revealed that the plant's extensive mechanical conveyor operated less than 45 decibels at the perimeter boundary. Dust is controlled by enclosing the dry section and installing air conditioning.