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  • Price Briefing 16 – 22 January

    Thursday, 22 January 2015

    Barite shortage ups price of Moroccan drilling grade; Chinese magnesia prices fall

  • World steel production up 1.2% in 2014

    Thursday, 22 January 2015

    Steel consumption has remained on an upwards trajectory — just. The levels produced are below those expected and there is a marked difference from Asia's rate of growth as well as the CIS levels in 2014.

  • Yangquan, China, announces measures to revitalise refractory industry

    Thursday, 22 January 2015

    The latest meeting, held at local government level, forms part of a wider initiative to revitalise and consolidate China’s refractory industry. For now, no parameters or fines have been set for the 65 companies who were in attendance at the meeting, but it is unlikely that a levy for noncompliance won’t be issued.

  • Ma’aden profit falls despite higher sales in 2014

    Wednesday, 21 January 2015

    The Saudi Arabian miner was hit by lower prices for its phosphate products last year, but is continuing to expand this arm of its business as well as diversify into the magnesia market as it pursues earnings growth.

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Pricing News

  • Mississippi Lime increases calcium carbonate prices

    Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    Hike cements US-wide increase in limestone mineral cost

  • Goldman Sachs: Potash price rebound not sustainable

    Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    The US bank has forecast that potash prices are to remain weak despite an upturn at end of 2014 - an outlook that will come as a blow to those developing projects, including majors like BHP and Vale, who are both developing major potash projects, have remained tightlipped about future investment in this area.

  • Antimony trioxide prices tumble in wake of ingot falls

    Monday, 26 January 2015

    Chinese exports of antimony metal drop 44% y-o-y from January-November

  • IM February Price Movements

    Monday, 26 January 2015

    IM’s full price listing will now only be published online. If you have any comments or concerns, or wish to discuss any of the grades or prices listed, please contact Laura Syrett, Prices Editor, at

More from Pricing News


  • Magnesia: Year in Review 2014

    Wednesday, 31 December 2014

    It has been a year of ups and downs for the magnesia industry as demand has waned and supply has remained robust.

  • Lessons from 100 years of mineral data

    Wednesday, 31 December 2014

    With the recent publication of data for 2012, the British Geological Survey (BGS) has 100 years of continuous mineral production data - but what do they tell us about worldwide industrial mineral production? Teresa Brown analyses some of these trends and what they say about the industry as a whole.

  • Australia: End of the mining gloom?

    Wednesday, 26 November 2014

    The downturn of the global “commodities supercyle” and slowing raw material demand in China has been felt keenly in Australia’s resources sector. But while proponents of Australian mining admit the industry isn’t quite as mighty as it used to be, they say that there are still plenty of reasons to be positive Down Under, Siobhan Lismore-Scott, Editor and Laura Syrett, Prices Editor, discover.

  • Potash and barite supply tightens while fused magnesia faces overcapacity

    Wednesday, 29 October 2014

    Antimony, iodine suffer from slow China growth; Tough times continue for TiO2 pigment market; FM producers storing up trouble for the future

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.