The corrosion characteristics of five permanent mould magnesium alloys were studied. Two contained aluminum (AZ91D and AZ91E) and three contained zinc as the primary alloying element (ZA104 (Zn 10%, Al 4%), ZAC and ZACS). ZAC contained a small amount of calcium and ZACS contained small amounts of calcium and strontium. Two techniques were used in this study, namely 1) scanning reference electrode technique (SRET) and 2) electrochemical noise (EN). The test solution for each case was 5% NaCl saturated with Mg(OH)2 at room temperature. According to the EN measurements, the corrosion rate of AZ91D was the lowest followed by AZ91E, ZACS, ZAC and ZA104. The EN measurements showed that both the frequency and magnitude of current transients were much higher for the zinc based alloys than for the aluminum based alloys. The SRET measurements illustrated that localized corrosion occurred more frequently on the ZA104 sample than on the AZ91D sample. It seemed that increasing the level of zinc and lowering the level of aluminum relative to the levels in AZ91D does not improve corrosion resistance. © Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.