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  • High-grade magnesia prices steady on lack of raw material supply

    Wednesday, 21 March 2018

    China’s high-grade magnesia prices were steady this week on a lack of high-quality magnesite, the raw material for magnesia, while the local government in Haicheng has remained strict on the use of explosives in mining.

  • Weak demand weighs on Chinese magnesia market

    Wednesday, 14 March 2018

    Chinese magnesia markets have seen limited transactions over the past week with demand muted and most overseas buyers reluctant to make deals because of firm prices.

  • Price Briefing March 2 -8

    Friday, 09 March 2018

    Prices rise further in chemical, foundry grade chromite markets; High-grade DBM prices leap on lack of raw material; Lithium prices rise in China after new year break; Chinese TiO2 producers cite yuan appreciation as they push for price risesPrice Notices

  • High-grade DBM prices leap on lack of raw material

    Wednesday, 07 March 2018

    There is a diverging trend between rising high-grade dead burned magnesia and falling low-grade material quotes, with raw material supply shortages putting pressure on DBM producers.

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  • Feeling the heat: Bauxite and alumina under pressure

    Friday, 26 January 2018

    China’s high-profile disruptions to industrial operations have wreaked havoc in the bauxite and alumina supply chains serving refractories end markets, taking prices to new highs.

  • 2017: The year of the supply squeeze

    Thursday, 14 December 2017

    If 2016 should be remembered with a shudder, then 2017 will be remembered as the year when it became harder to source minerals. The supply situation changed for many minerals in the markets that Industrial Minerals covers, not least because many producers were simply shut down by strict environmental laws in China, or found it harder to source materials due to demand-side challenges, consultant editor Siobhan Lismore-Scott writes.

  • The dragon loosens its hold: magnesia supply developments outside of China

    Friday, 08 December 2017

    With Chinese magnesia supply dwindling, or ceasing altogether in some markets, consultant Ian Wilson, discusses the supply situation outside of China.

  • A rock and a hard place

    Friday, 08 September 2017

    Demand for refractory products is evolving, forcing suppliers to upgrade their offers and processes to stay ahead of the game, while Chinese-origin raw materials are appreciating on the back of supply shortages, making productions costlier, Davide Ghilotti, IM Chief Reporter, finds.

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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.