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%).
- 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.