Close

10th May 2016

Magnesite

SONY DSC

What is magnesite and where do I use it?

  • Magnesite is the common name for the mineral magnesium carbonate (MgCO3). Pure, uncontaminated magnesite contains the equivalent of 47.8% magnesium oxide (MgO).
  • The main use for magnesite is in the production of magnesia for refractory industries (steel, cement and other refractory totalling approximately 84% of the world production).
  • The remaining 16% of Magnesite is used for environmental, agricultural and other applications (e.g. sports).
  • Magnesite is rarely used without being calcined into magnesia, although small amounts are sold for construction (e.g. slag conditioning and hydraulic construction).

Where is magnesite produced?

  • China is the world’s largest producer of magnesite, accounting for 69% of the total world output in 2010.
  • The next largest producers are Slovakia, Russia, Turkey, Austria, Brazil, Spain and Australia, with 25% of production between them.
  • EU production is estimated at 9% of world production with important contributions from Slovakia (6%), Spain (2%) and Greece (1%).

Specific Issues

  • As magnesite is predominantly used in the calcined form as magnesia it cannot be recycled directly.
  • Substituting for magnesia is considered to be very difficult in the steel industry (estimated to be about 5%), while in the cement industry this could be as high as 30% (e.g. by bauxite or alumina); however, in neither application it is completely substituted.

Applications

floor-1256804_1920
steel plant
Fertiliser and plant