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MAGNESITE

  • Magnesite
  • Mines Producing Magnesite

Magnesite is a mineral found as a natural ore with a similar crystal structure as calcite and identified as being magnesium carbonate (MgCO3). It often forms when rocks rich in magnesium such as dolomite, or serpentine, become exposed to water, rich in carbon dioxide. Magnesite is rather hard and can be likened in this way to marble and turquoise. It most often has a dull white appearance about it, much like porcelain before it is glazed. However, the colour of magnesite can not be relied on as it can appear quite colourless or, pink, tan, gray even yellow as it is very porous and can absorb colour from other sources. This makes it popular among jewellery makers as it will readily absorb dye that can make it appear to be turquoise. It is so porous in fact that when licked with your tongue you will find it tends to stick. It is also very fluorescent and particularly susceptible to ultra violet light. It has many industrial uses as well as being an ingredient in the production of fireworks and Epsom salts.


There is no Relationship Between Magnesite and Turquoise
Magnesite has no relationship to turquoise whatsoever despite it often erroneously being referred to as a type of turquoise. Turquoise is a phosphate and contains copper. Magnesite does not, although it does have a web like pattern to it that can easily be mistaken as the matrix that is dominant in turquoise. Cunning jewellery manufacturers can make magnesite appear to be the more expensive turquoise and it is very hard to pick any difference between the real thing. Often the only way of knowing it could be magnesite is the lower price the piece is being offered at.


Magnesite has Many Industrial Uses
Industrially, magnesite is often used with lime to form slag in furnaces associated with the production of steel to protect the magnesium lining of the furnace. It can also be used in the production of fertilisers and in the making of magnesium chemicals. In much the same way lime is produced magnesite is able to be burnt in conjunction with charcoal to make periclase (MgO). Periclase is an important ingredient in the production of refractory materials, non metallic materials that can absorb very high temperatures.


Raw magnesite is found in two different forms, cryptocrystalline and crystalline. Cryptocrystalline is more purer than crystalline and is usually associated with a silica content that gives it an off white colour. This type of magnesite is used for the following;
- The production of certain chemicals, pharma chenicals, mosaic applications, animal feeds and fertilisers
- The manufacturing of caustic calcined magnesite
- The manufacturing of dead burnt magnesite


Dead burnt magnesite is almost entirely used in the making of refractory materials such as basic refractory bricks which are used by industry for the following purposes:
- Coating in the steel industry
- SLAG splashing in arc furnaces and SLAG beneficiation
• Magnesite mortar and fettling material as well as in the making of ramming mass composition
Magnesite that is lightly calcined is chemically reactive and used in:
- Animal feeds
- Fertilisers
- Boiler lagging
- Magnesium chemicals
- The polishing industry in the form of abrasive bricks for grinding
- The grinding wheel industry in the form of Sorel cement used in binding abrasives
- The building industry in Oxy chloride flooring
 

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