Russian Mining Chemical Co (RMCC) intends to target the
growing flame retardants market with a 50% capacity increase
for magnesium hydroxide created by a recently-opened facility
at Vyazma, west of Moscow.
The company believes that there is scope to expand its share
of the magnesium hydroxide market for such retardants, it told
Fastmarkets on Wednesday October 17.
The company has brucite deposits in Russia and already had
two processing plants in Vyazma, with capacity for 100,000
tonnes per year of magnesia-based products, including magnesium
In the latest expansion of the site, a third plant was set
up in September with capacity for an additional 50,000 tpy. The
additional volume will mainly go to supply the flame retardants
market, according to Don Hendrik, who is managing director of
Europiren, RMCC’s distributor for Europe, and a
member of the board at Russian Mining.
"[The use of] magnesium hydroxide in flame retardants is
growing," Hendrik said. "Because of growth in construction and
tighter legislation, magnesium hydroxide is taking away market
share from [the alternative material] alumina hydrate
ATH remains the most commonly used material in flame
retardants in terms of volume, with a share today of 80-90% of
the global flame retardants market. In comparison, magnesium
hydroxide has a lower 10-20% share, but it is making
"There is a tendency to move toward magnesium hydroxide,"
"One reason is that the composition temperature of magnesium
hydroxide is higher, at 330°, than it is for ATH
[200°]. Users of ATH have limitations, because they cannot
increase the process temperature above 180-190°, because
the ATH would start to decompose. Here, magnesium hydroxide can
gain market share."
The other leading driver of expansion in the use of
magnesium hydroxide is regulation, he added.
Europe’s CPR 2017 (Construction Protection
Regulation) set of norms on flame retardant requirements for
cables and wires in construction has a specific category for
smoke-related emissions, which is intended to maintain the
integrity of cables and wires after a fire.
Magnesium hydroxide’s alkaline characteristics
reduce the acidity in the smoke, helping to ensure better
resistance by cable and wire coatings.
Cables and wires are the largest end application for the
flame retardants industry, followed by roofing membranes and
aluminium composite panels (ACPs).
RMCC’s magnesia-based products are all produced
from brucite, rather than magnesite. The company owns two of
Russia’s largest brucite deposits. Currently, one
is operational with a mine capacity for 350,000 tpy. The second
deposit is expected to start production in 2023.
The products serve fertilizer applications for the domestic
market, for the production of ammonium nitrate. For exports,
the main end market is flame retardants.
Europiren represents Russian Mining and acts as distributor
of its products in markets including Europe, the Middle East,
the Americas and India.
RMCC specialises in the mining, processing and trading of
brucite from the Kuldur deposit in the Jewish Autonomous Region
of Far East Russia. Kuldur was discovered in 1966 and has
reserves of 10m tonnes brucite. The brucite is a crystalline
massive rock, white to light grey in colour.
RMCC was established in 2002 and started its first production
plant in Vyazma, Smolensk Oblast, 220km west of Moscow, in
RMCC established Kuldur Mining Company in 2011 and a second
processing plant in Vyazma in 2011. RMCC purchased a
controlling block of shares in Kuldur Mining in 2012.
Flame retardants explained
Economic deposits of the natural magnesium minerals brucite,
huntite and hydromagnesite are found in only a few places in
the world and are extracted mainly for use as flame
There are two main areas of brucite deposits globally
– in Liaoning, China and in Russia, both with
Russian brucite miner Russian Mining Chemical Co. (RMCC) has
grown significantly over the last 10 years, largely on the back
of international sales to the flame retardant
Brucite (magnesium hydroxide, or Mg(OH)2), along with huntite
(magnesium calcium carbonate) and hyrdromagnesite (hydrated
magnesium carbonate), are among the lesser known magnesium