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Magnesite

What Is Magnesite

Magnesite is a magnesium carbonate mineral occurring as veins in magnesium rich rocks like ultramafic rocks and serpentinite. According to the Australian Mine Atlas:

“Natural magnesite almost always contains some calcium carbonate as the mineral calcite and iron carbonate as the mineral siderite. Magnesium also occurs in dolomite.”
 
It is very brittle and has a vitreous lustre with colours ranging from colourless or white when pure to pale yellow, pale brown, faintly pink and lilac rose.

What Is Magnesite Used For?

Magnesite has been used in flooring as a binder. It is used as a lining in furnaces and cement kilns. It also makes an excellent firebrick. Caustic calcined magnesia is used as a food supplement in fertilizers and for fillers in plastics, paints and paper. It is also used as a filler and catalyst in the production of synthetic rubber.

Raw magnesite is used for surface coatings and as a fire retardant. It is also used in ceramics, face powder, disinfectants, Epsom salts and boiler wrappings.

Where Is Magnesite Produced?

According to Australian Mine Atlas:

“Australia's economic demonstrated resources are 202 million tonnes of magnesite. The estimated world economic resources of magnesite are about 8600 million tonnes of MgCO3 with China having the most followed by the Russia and North Korea.”

Magnesite is mined in Austria, India, Australia, South Africa, China, North Korea and Russia.

Conclusion

Magnesite is mostly an evaporite mineral found in sedimentary rocks. It also occurs as veins in ultramafic rocks, such as serpentinite and other magnesium rich rock types found in mountain forming belts. It is used in furnaces in conjunction with lime as a slag former in steelmaking. The use of magnesite protects the magnesium oxide lining. It is also used as catalyst and filler in the production of synthetic rubber and in the preparation of magnesium chemicals and fertilizers.
Magnesite is mined in Australia, Austria, South Africa, Russia, India, China and North Korea.

If you would like to learn more about minerals and mining visit our Mining and Metals page.
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