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Magnesia

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  • Stricter controls ease magnesia oversupply in China

    Tuesday, 19 January 2021

    Tighter controls on mining activity in China’s Liaoning province and strict environmental regulations have eased the oversupply of magnesia in the country, stirring up an optimistic price outlook for 2021.

  • China’s magnesia hit by fall in global demand

    Monday, 12 October 2020

    Global demand for magnesia has fallen significantly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with most magnesia prices falling to their lowest levels since before the market rally in 2017.

  • Chinese magnesia prices challenge other producing regions

    Wednesday, 09 September 2020

    The European magnesia markets have been very sluggish so far in 2020, with the Covid-19 pandemic striking while consumers were trying to cut back swollen inventories.

  • INTERVIEW: ‘I believe AK Steel is a diamond in the rough’ - Lourenco Goncalves

    Monday, 08 June 2020

    Battle tested, hard-nosed, and, at times, known to be very blunt, the top executive of the largest and oldest independent iron ore mining company in the US has been called many things in an almost 40-year career spent from one end of the steel supply chain to the other. Fearful is not one of them.

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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.

 

Supply

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:

– Greece

– China

– Turkey

– Brazil

– Russia

– USA

– Netherlands

– Australia

– Slovakia

– Japan

 

Markets

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.

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