UK Budget supports fracking market; graphite prices lower
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Lower quotas and economic woes lead to fewer exports in November 2012
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Magnesita weathers economic downturn; rare earths discovered in Rwanda
Manufacturers use Q1 statements to posit growth forecasts as slump lifts
Quality improvements in China offset by weak Europe and North American markets
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The spray roaster process (pictured) was originally developed by J. Aman in 1958 for the decomposition (pyrohydrolysis) of MgCl2 brines. Consequently, it is also well known as the Aman Process. However, its most common application is the regeneration of spent hydrochloric pickle liquors in the steel industry.
The caustic calcined magnesia (CCM) market is not as large as the dead burned magnesia market, but there have been some interesting movements and some new spaces are emerging. Siobhan Lismore, Editor, looks into this market.
Medical applications for minerals might not be the main market driving factor or the biggest consideration for producers, but speciality applications in the medical industry are undeniably important for our everyday lives and advances in healthcare
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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 worlds 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.
FM: refractories; steel coatings; ceramics.
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