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Pricing News

  • Spodumene rise increase as lithium compound values are scrutinised in China

    Friday, 05 February 2016

    Tianqi’s decision to raise concentrate prices supports view of higher demand in Asia, but sharp increases reported for lithium hydroxide and carbonate values may not be reflective of the wider market.

  • Black market graphite trading increases in China

    Friday, 05 February 2016

    Illegal trading of graphite is on the rise, with some producers looking to dodge taxes in order to offer lower prices that they hope will stimulate sales – a trend that is preventing legal producers from taking advantage of the seasonal slowdown in production by leveraging price increases.

  • Price Briefing 29 January – 4 February

    Friday, 05 February 2016

    Antimony ingot prices improve slightly but fluorspar and graphite values fall; TiO2 market expected to remain weak.

  • Phosphate prices likely to fall further before recovering, says PhosAgro

    Thursday, 04 February 2016

    The company this week reported an increase in 2015 sales and production, despite weakening fertiliser prices. Selling values for potash, phosphate and nitrogen are expected to decline further, however the company’s chief officer, Andrei Guryev anticipates a rebound towards the end of the year.

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Features

  • Magnesite and magnesia in Turkey

    Monday, 25 January 2016

    Turkey is a magnesite-rich country and has a long history of mining the mineral, both for export and increasingly for its own internal refractories and speciality materials sectors. Aykut Karaca, IM Correspondent, gives an overview of Turkey’s geological background and profiles some of the country’s main magnesite and magnesia producers.

  • Magnesia: Year in Review 2015

    Thursday, 17 December 2015

    A roundup of the year's main events in the global magnesia industry.

  • Which materials are “critical” and which are “strategic”?

    Monday, 30 November 2015

    The terms “critical” and “strategic” used to describe the importance of various minerals and metals to different countries and organisations are often applied without definition or context. George J Simandl, Carlee Akam and Suzanne Paradis outline the case for appropriate use of these terms to avoid misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

  • 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.

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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.

 

Supply

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

 

Markets

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.