Latest News

  • Martin Marietta acquires US limestone assets

    Tuesday, 08 April 2014

    A better focused partnership with Hunt Midwest Enterprises will allow Martin Marietta to expand its limestone plants and consolidate its position of second largest supplier within the aggregate and concrete business in the US.

  • China’s refractories market shrunk in 2012

    Thursday, 03 April 2014

    A fall in refractories production in China negatively affects the demand for refractory industrial minerals and is a clear indication of the slower growth of the Chinese economy in the past two years. Future demand of refractories will strongly depend on governmental policies for China’s industry, in particular for iron and steel.

  • China’s manufacturing returns to positive expansion

    Wednesday, 02 April 2014

    Positive signs of recovery in the Chinese manufacturing industry hint at the possibility of a rebound of the demand of many industrial minerals, such as fluorspar, graphite, potash and chromite, in an economy which plays a central role in several industrial minerals end markets.

  • Magnesita post 20% growth in 2013 in industrial minerals; graphite project close

    Friday, 21 March 2014

    Magnesita remains one of the most diversified refractories producers and this is reflected in its positive results. The company, like RHI, has focused on vertically integration and has managed to protect itself from fluctuations in steel markets and bearishness elsewhere.

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Pricing News

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  • Diary Dates March 2014

    Friday, 21 February 2014

    Industry Events for the industrial minerals market

  • Chromite conundrum: how to bring demand back into an abating market

    Wednesday, 05 February 2014

    South Africa, the world’s leading producer of chromite, has seen its mining sector threatened by strikes and demonstrations since 2012, resulting in the death of 34 miners following clashes at a platinum mine. As calm returns to the sector, Antonio Torrisi, Graduate Reporter, investigates the nation’s chromite supply situation.

  • Year in Review 2013: Just when we couldn’t sink any further, we did

    Friday, 20 December 2013

    It has not been a good year for the industrial minerals industry. There have been some shining lights, of course Ñexploration continues at an astonishing rate in some markets despite falling demand and, consequently, prices - but on the whole producers and suppliers have felt the pinch.

  • Mining in Spain - what’s the risk?

    Monday, 22 July 2013

    Dr Elizabeth Stephens, JLT Specialty Ltd, UK, explains the risks involved with developing a project in Spain and discusses recent developments in the Spanish minerals sector

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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.