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  • China ramps up steel output in September

    Friday, 21 October 2016

    Chinese crude steel output recorded a notable increase in September and led Asia figures to grow slightly while all other main regions saw reduced production.

  • Refractory industry sees more mergers after RHI-Magnesita

    Wednesday, 19 October 2016

    RHI and Magnesita’s proposed merger into a global company with presence over three continents has been a hot topic in the sector, as industry participants predict consolidation is inevitable in the shrinking market.

  • Higher costs to lift magnesia prices, producer says

    Tuesday, 18 October 2016

    Chinese-origin magnesia prices could rise as a result of higher costs due to new regulations on maximum truckload volumes, but some doubt buyers would accept the increases.

  • RHI Magnesita: 'Consolidation makes sense'

    Monday, 17 October 2016

    IM spoke to RHI’s Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer and Magnesita’s Octavio Lopes, who said that optimising costs to up margins, improving logistics and battling rising competition from China are some of the main factors that brought the two companies together on the refractory global stage as pressure builds up for the industry to consolidate.

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Pricing News

  • Lithium offer prices higher than anticipated: buyers

    Friday, 21 October 2016

    Initial offers from China have exceeded buyer expectations, although South American producers are said to still be holding off on making price proposals. Suppliers, meanwhile have expressed frustration at the “unrealistic” expectations of some buyers.

  • China ramps up steel output in September

    Friday, 21 October 2016

    Chinese crude steel output recorded a notable increase in September and led Asia figures to grow slightly while all other main regions saw reduced production.

  • Price Briefing 14-20 October 2016

    Friday, 21 October 2016

    Fluorspar prices stable, iodine rates falling while chromite prices continues to appreciate.

  • Chemical chromite spot prices rise 20%

    Friday, 21 October 2016

    Spot prices for chemical grade chromite have moved upwards by over 20% as metallurgical ore appreciates, while uneven demand for foundry sand is creating volatility in Asia while Europe remains more stable.

More from Pricing News


  • Chinese magnesia and refractories: The new normal

    Monday, 22 August 2016

    The Chinese economy is entering a transition from a primarily export-orientated economy to a more consumer-driven economy. At the same time, increasing debt, slower growth and excess production capacity are contributing to what has been labelled as the “new normal” for China. Richard Flook and Ian Wilson examine the effect of this on the Chinese magnesia industry and the Chinese refractory industry.

  • India’s refractories industry: Ready to recover?

    Monday, 22 August 2016

    India’s economy and steel sector have been among a select few worldwide to post healthy levels of growth amid stagnant global GDP rates, but Chinese steel dumping and overcapacity have curtailed growth in the country’s refractories industry, Sunder Singh, IM Correspondent, explains.

  • Smelting point? An update on major refractories for glass smelters

    Monday, 22 August 2016

    Fused cast blocks have dominated the market for glass refractories since the early 20th century. Carlo Ratto takes a look at some of the alternative products which have emerged over the years and assesses the future uptake prospects for these materials.

  • World refractories industry: State of play in 2016

    Monday, 22 August 2016

    Jessica Roberts assesses the health of the refractory industry’s key consumers so far in 2016, and outlines longer term trends that look to influence the market this year and beyond.

More from Features

Market Brief

Magnesia is the term for magnesium oxide (formula: MgO). Magnesia is produced by mining and processing mainly the hard rock mineral, magnesite, which occurs in two main forms: cryptocrystalline and crystalline.


Rarely, magnesia may be produced from other hard rock minerals such as dolomite, brucite, huntite, and serpentinite.


Another commercially important source of magnesia is from chemical processing of seawater and magnesia-rich brines, which produces what is sometimes referred to as synthetic magnesia.


Grades produced include:

·         Crude magnesite

·         Caustic calcined magnesia (CCM)

·         Dead burned magnesia (DBM)

·         Fused magnesia (FM)

·         Magnesium compounds derived from CCM, eg. magnesium hydroxide, magnesium sulphate.


The source of the magnesia determines critical chemical and physical characteristics of the derived magnesia, such as MgO purity (ranges low to high, 85%-99% MgO), ratio of CaO:SiO2, bulk density, and magnesia crystal size.



The world’s total resource of magnesite, the main source of magnesia, is about 13bn tonnes. Six countries host 92% of this, in descending order: China (26%), North Korea (23%), Russia (21%), Slovakia (10%), Australia (7%), and Brazil (5%).


World magnesia production (derived from the magnesite) is about 8.5m. tpa, and is dominated by China (49%). Other leading producers include Austria, Brazil, Greece, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey.


World synthetic  magnesia production (derived from seawater, brines) is about 925,000 tpa, from Brazil, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Russia, South Korea, and the USA.


Leading magnesia producers include:

Grecian Magnesite – Greece

Houying Group – China

Kumas-Kuthaya Magnesite Works Corp. – Turkey

Magnesita Refratarios – Brazil

Magnezit Group – Russia

Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties – USA

Nedmag Industries Mining & Manufacturing – Netherlands

Queensland Magnesia – Australia

SMZ Jelsava – Slovakia

Ube Material Industries – Japan



Each end use requires different specifications of the preferred magnesia form, so there are many different grades of magnesia on the market. Certain magnesite deposits are better suited to produce certain magnesia grades than others.


Crude magnesite: agriculture, glass and ceramics.


CCM: agriculture; environment; cement; abrasive binder; pulp and paper; fillers; feedstock for DBM, FM, and magnesium compound production.


DBM: refractories.


FM: refractories; steel coatings; ceramics.