10 Top Countries for Magnesite Mining (Updated 2024)

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Magnesite, an industrial metal, plays a key role as a refractory material in steel fabrication, as a catalyst and filler in the production of synthetic rubber and as a material in the production of magnesium chemicals and fertilizers.

The global magnesite market had an estimated value of US$12.37 billion in 2023, and is projected to reach US$14.9 billion in 2028 on rising demand from the construction, chemical, metallurgical and automotive industries.

The US Geological Survey estimates that worldwide magnesite reserves stand at 7.7 billion metric tons (MT). Worldwide, magnesite production reached 22 million MT in 2023, mostly on par with the previous year.

1. China

Mine production: 13 million MT

China is the world’s top country for magnesite mining by far, accounting for roughly 60 percent of worldwide output. The country’s production saw no growth compared to last year’s output. The Asian nation is also the principal exporter of the material to the US and many other markets across the globe. In 2023, China’s magnesite exports to India grew by 9 percent due to increased demand for steel fabrication to supply the latter’s infrastructure projects.

China represents a major market for magnesite in its own right, accounting for about 65 percent of total global consumption. However, strict environmental regulations in the country have resulted in the closure of several key magnesite mines.

2. Turkey

Mine production: 1.8 million MT

Next is Turkey, whose magnesite output came to 1.8 million MT in 2023, just 20,000 MT fewer than it produced in 2022. Magnesite production in the country has significantly decreased in recent years, falling from 2.7 million MT in 2017.

Turkey has a long history of magnesite mining, both for export and for use at domestic refractories. Akdeniz Mineral Resources, a joint venture with private company Grecian Magnesite, is a large producer and exporter of caustic calcined magnesite products.

3. Brazil

Mine production: 1.7 million MT

Brazil’s magnesite production has remained relatively flat in recent years. A critical point in Brazil’s magnesite industry came in 2017 with the merger of RHI of Austria and Magnesita Refratários of Brazil to form RHI Magnesita, which then became the world’s largest refractory materials producer. RHI Magnesita is also reported to own the largest magnesite reserve outside of China.

5. Russia

Mine production: 950,000 MT

Russia’s magnesite-mining output has dropped significantly in recent years, sinking from 1.5 million MT in 2020 to 950,000 MT in 2023. The country hosts the largest reserves of magnesite in the world, coming in at 2.3 billion MT.

One of the key players in the Russian magnesite space is Magnezit Group, which is actively working to expand production capacity at its Kirgiteiskoye and Talskoye deposits by overhauling existing facilities and building new facilities.

5. Australia

Mine production: 860,000 MT

Australia’s magnesite production has risen steadily in the past few years, moving it up from near the bottom of the list of top magnesite-mining countries to the second spot in 2021 with 2.7 million MT. However, the nation recorded a dramatically-reduced magnesite-mining output of 860,000 MT in both 2022 and 2023.

Private company Queensland Magnesia is responsible for the bulk of Australia’s magnesite production. QMAG Pty Ltd, part of the Refratechnik group, is mining one of the world’s largest magnesite mines, the Kunwarara deposit in central Queensland. An examples of a magnesite-focused junior mining companies operating in Australia is Lachlan Star (ASX:LSA) with its Princhester magnesite project also in Queensland.

6. Austria

Mine production: 810,000 MT

Austria’s magnesite mining output has remained relatively flat in recent years, with levels in a range of 760,000 MT to 810,000 MT. Austrian magnesite producer Styromag operates five mines in the country; it produces roughly 120,000 MT of material per year.

‘In January 2023, an Austria-based magnesia and refractories company acquired a leading refractory producer in China, allowing it to expand production in China and the east Asia region,’ reported the USGS.

7. Spain

Mine production: 670,000 MT

Spain’s magnesite output has more than doubled since 2016, coming in at 670,000 MT in 2022. Spain’s Magnesitas Navarras is a leading European magnesia producer.

In early 2024, the company received government approval for a project that will allow it to operate a new mine in the Erdiz region for 25 years.

8. Slovakia

Mine production: 510,000 MT

Slovakia produced 510,000 MT of magnesite in 2023, a slight decrease of 2,000 MT versus what it produced a year earlier. Slovakian producer SLOVMAG is majority owned by Russia’s Magnezit Group. It specializes in mining magnesite ore and producing refractory products from sintered magnesia.

9. Greece

Mine production: 380,000 MT

Greece produced 380,000 MT of magnesite in 2023, on par with the year before. The country is home to one of the top magnesia producers in the world, Grecian Magnesite, which has facilities in Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands. Greece’s magnesite mines and production facilities are located in the Chalkidiki peninsula in Northern Greece.

The Turkish subsidiary of the Greece-based magnesia producer is slated to construct a new rotary kiln in 2024, which the USGS says is expected to double ‘its current production capacity of caustic-calcined magnesia to around 50,000 tons per year.’

10. Saudi Arabia

Mine production: 340,000 MT

Rounding out the list, Saudi Arabia put out 340,000 MT of magnesite in 2023, displacing Iran for the tenth spot on this list. The country’s major producer is Ma’aden Industrial Minerals Company which produces caustic calcined magnesite from its a high-grade magnesite mine at Al Ghazalah.

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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