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  • Price Briefing 20 – 26 November

    Friday, 27 November 2015

    Iodine, magnesia, potash, rare earths and TiO2 prices all down on earlier in the year, as oversupply and weak Chinese consumption erode markets.

  • CCM prices from China slip in flat market

    Wednesday, 25 November 2015

    Soft refractories demand is reported to be eroding prices for caustic calcined magnesia.

  • Magnesita’s Q3 loss increases almost 50-fold due to write-offs

    Friday, 13 November 2015

    Despite posting an increase in net operating revenues, the Brazilian refractories producer has reported a significant loss for the third quarter of 2015 as a result of exceptional events in the company’s Brazilian, European and Chinese operations.

  • General Magnesium to go public in January 2016

    Thursday, 12 November 2015

    The Canadian magnesite and talc producer is aiming to raise funds for its Whitney project via a reverse takeover process, following the announcement of deals for magnesite offtake and talc processing which have brought the site closer to operation.

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  • Mining in Turkey – now and then

    Saturday, 26 September 2015

    Turkey’s mineral diversity is well known and the country is home to some of the world’s leading producers of borates, soda ash and magnesite. However, political uncertainty and recent instability in Turkey’s mining legislation has hindered its development as a mining nation, Aykut Karaca, IM Correspondent, explains.

  • Energy, mining and magnesia – a look at the industry’s power needs and uses

    Wednesday, 26 August 2015

    Global energy sources are evolving and minerals are bound up with this shift, both as users of power and as raw materials used in its extraction and generation. Vasili Nicoletopoulos* takes a look at the world energy market and discusses the place of the magnesia industry within this changing landscape.

  • Global resources and production of magnesite

    Wednesday, 26 August 2015

    Although prices and demand for magnesia are dwindling in line with slowing worldwide consumption of refractories, Ian Wilson*, Consultant, discusses how new high purity sources of magnesite are being developed to target markets that require the best quality material.

  • Chinese refractories sector consolidation is positive for the wider industry, says Magnesita chief

    Thursday, 28 May 2015

    With overall and specific consumption of refractories in the steel industry on a downward trend, producers of refractory and raw materials are keeping a keen eye on potential pockets of growth and wider trends in the market. IM spoke to Octavio Pereira Lopes, CEO of leading Brazilian refractory materials producer, Magnesita, to discover his views on the industry. Josie Shillito, Reporter

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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.