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Magnesium

Patrick Chevalier
The author is with the Minerals and Metals Sector,
Natural Resources Canada.
Telephone: (613) 992-4401
E-mail: pchevali@nrcan.gc.ca
The ti ghtness i n magnesi um markets experi enced
i n 1995 eased somewhat i n 1996 as worl d producti on
i ncreased and shi pments to some key sectors weak-
ened. Accordi ng to the I nternati onal Magnesi um
Associ ati on (I MA), pri mary magnesi um shi pments
for the fi rst ni ne months of 1996 were down 5400 t
compared to the same peri od i n 1995, for a total of
222 000 t. The mai n reason for the decrease was
reduced shi pments to the al umi num al l oy market,
whi ch dropped 13%. Markets for desul phuri zati on
and di e casti ng were hi gher than l ast year (up 23%
and 11% respectful l y), but not enough to offset the
l osses i n the al umi num al l oy market. Pri mary pro-
ducti on i n the fi rst three quarters of the year
i ncreased by 1700 t over the same peri od i n 1995 to
186 500 t, pri mari l y as the resul t of i ncreased produc-
ti on i n North Ameri ca. Exports from Russi a, Chi na
and Ukrai ne conti nued to be strong and now account
for roughl y 20% of the Western markets.
CANADIAN DEVELOPMENTS
Producti on at Norsk Hydro Canada I nc.s (NHC)
40 000-t/y Bcancour smel ter i n Quebec conti nued to
operate at cl ose to ful l capaci ty i n 1996. The process
technol ogy used at Bcancour i nvol ves l eachi ng mag-
nesi te i mported from Chi na wi th hydrochl ori c aci d to
produce a bri ne of magnesi um chl ori de (MgCl
2
),
dehydrati on, and then reduci ng the MgCl
2
granul es
i n el ectrol yti c cel l s to produce metal l i c magnesi um.
I n June, NHC announced a $20 mi l l i on i nvestment
for the Bcancour smel ter. The pl an i ncl udes the
constructi on of a new 15 000-t/y al l oy i ngot casti ng
l i ne to meet growi ng demand. The pl an al so i ncl udes
a second project to reprocess and recycl e producti on
resi dues normal l y l eft unused. The resi dues wi l l be
converted to sal eabl e products or fed back i nto the
magnesi um producti on process, l eavi ng onl y 20% of
the ori gi nal resi dues for l andfi l l i ng as non-hazardous
materi al . Both projects are expected to be ful l y oper-
ati onal by the fourth quarter of 1997.
NHC al so compl eted a mai n expansi on study at
Bcancour i n November. The study demonstrated
the techni cal vi abi l i ty and economi c attracti veness of
a seri es of mul ti pl e-step expansi ons of 10 000-15 000 t
each. The project i s now i nto a technol ogy assess-
ment phase wi th no announced date for expansi on.
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) provi si on-
al l y cut to zero from 21% the anti -dumpi ng duty on
i mports of pure magnesi um i nto the Uni ted States
from Norsk Hydros Canadi an operati ons. The 21%
anti -dumpi ng rate had been i n pl ace si nce November
1993. Two more revi ew peri ods are expected before
any fi nal dumpi ng duty rul i ng wi l l be made. I n a
separate revi ew i n October, the DOC announced i ts
prel i mi nary fi ndi ng for the admi ni strati ve revi ew of
the countervai l i ng duty orders on both pure and al l oy
magnesi um from NHC. The countervai l i ng duti es
were l owered to 4.01% ad val orem for the peri od
January 1 to December 31, 1994. The duty had been
set at 7.61% before the revi ew. Fi nal resul ts of the
1994 revi ew peri od are expected i n earl y 1997.
Ti mmi nco Metal s, a di vi si on of Ti mmi nco Li mi ted,
produces hi gh-puri ty metal (up to 99.98% pure) for
speci al i zed market appl i cati ons at i ts 6000-t/y mag-
nesi um pl ant at Hal ey Stati on, Ontari o. The com-
pany al so produces hi ghl y corrosi on-resi stant magne-
si um di e-casti ng al l oys and extruded anode rods for
hot-water heaters. Ti mmi ncos magnesi um products
are used for a vari ety of appl i cati ons such as an al l oy-
i ng agent for al umi num and cal ci um, i n Gri gnard
reagents for the pharmaceuti cal i ndustry, and i n
el ectroni c products. Ti mmi nco uses the Pi dgeon mag-
nesi um process i n whi ch cal ci ned dol omi te i s reduced
by ferrosi l i con i n a vacuum retort. Ti mmi nco mi nes
the dol omi te at the pl ant si te but purchases the fer-
rosi l i con feed on the open market.
Magnol a Metal l urgy announced pl ans to l ocate i ts
future magnesi um pl ant near the town of Asbestos i n
the Estri e regi on of Quebec. Work conti nued i n 1996
to further refi ne Magnol as propri etary process at a
pi l ot pl ant on the Canadi an El ectrol yti c Zi nc property
i n Val l eyfi el d, Quebec. A deci si on on whether to pro-
ceed wi th a 58 500-t/y magnesi um smel ter, usi ng a
process based on the tai l i ngs from l ocal asbestos
mi nes, i s expected to be made i n 1998 wi th ful l
36.2 CANADIAN MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1996
producti on by the year 2000. Noranda Metal l urgy
I nc. owns 52% of Magnol a, whi l e the remai nder i s
shared between Japanese automoti ve parts manufac-
turers Ai si n Sei ki Company Li mi ted, Ai si n Takaoka
Company Li mi ted and Ai si n Worl d Corporati on of
Ameri ca (16%), the Montral -based engi neeri ng fi rm
SNC Laval i n I nc. (16%), and the Soci t gnral e de
fi nancement du Qubec (SGF) (16%).
Magnesi um Servi ces (Canada) I nc. (MSI ), together
wi th the Al berta Research Counci l , establ i shed a
research program for the devel opment of secondary
magnesi um manufacturi ng and recovery technol o-
gi es. The $1.2 mi l l i on program i s expected to provi de
MSI wi th secondary magnesi um producti on technol o-
gi es, processes and techni ques for the hi gh-yi el d
recovery of magnesi um scrap.
Figure 1
Magnesium Smelters, 1996
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Ottawa
Qubec
Sept-les
kilometres
0 150 100 50
SMELTER
1. Haley Station, Ontario
2. Bcancour, Quebec
3. Asbestos, Quebec (proposed)
COMPANY
Timminco
Norsk Hydro
Magnola Metallurgy
CAPACITY (t/y)
6 000
40 000
58 500
1.
2.
3.
Montral
MAGNESIUM 36.3
WORLD DEVELOPMENTS
Western Worl d pri mary magnesi um producti on
i ncreased to 186 500 t for the fi rst ni ne months of
1996 compared to 184 800 t for the same peri od i n
1995. The i ncreased producti on, coupl ed wi th an
esti mated 26% ri se i n exports from Russi a and Chi na
total l i ng 51 100 t, hel ped to ease the market ti ght-
ness experi enced i n 1995 and to suppress pri ces
throughout 1996. Whi l e shi pments i n North Ameri ca
remai ned strong, total shi pments of 222 000 t for the
fi rst three quarters of 1996 were l ower that the
227 400 t shi pped i n the same peri od i n 1995. The
l ower shi pments refl ected the weaker demand i n
some of magnesi ums key market sectors, parti cul arl y
i n Europe and Asi a.
United States
The Uni ted States, whi ch i s the worl ds l argest mag-
nesi um producer, has three pri mary magnesi um
smel ters. The Dow Chemi cal Company, the l argest
U.S. producer, operates a 65 000-t/y el ectrol yti c
magnesi um pl ant at Freeport, Texas. Magnesi um
chl ori de feedstock for the pl ant i s deri ved from a
seawater-dol omi te process. Magnesi um Corporati on
of Ameri ca (Magcorp) operates a 38 000-t/y el ec-
trol yti c pl ant i n Rowl ey, Utah. Northwest Al l oys
I nc., a subsi di ary of the Al umi num Company of
Ameri ca (Al coa), operates a 38 000-t/y magnesi um
pl ant i n Addy, Washi ngton. The pl ant uses the
Magnetherm si l i cothermi c process i n whi ch magne-
si um i s produced by reduci ng dol omi te wi th ferro-
si l i con. The bul k of Northwest Al l oys producti on i s
shi pped for use by subsi di ari es of Al coa.
Europe
The European Commi ssi on (EC) retai ned anti -
dumpi ng duti es on i mports of unwrought pure mag-
nesi um from Russi a and Ukrai ne fol l owi ng a revi ew.
The mi ni mum i mport duti es for Russi an magnesi um
were l owered from 2735 ECU (European currency
uni ts)/t to 2602 ECU/t, and from 2701 ECU/t to
2568 ECU/t for Ukrai ni an magnesi um. The EC
i mposed provi si onal anti -dumpi ng duti es i n
December 1995 fol l owi ng a compl ai nt by the
European i ndustry. The duti es were extended for a
further two months i n Apri l whi l e the Commi ssi on
compl eted an anti -dumpi ng i nqui ry. The Commi ssi on
dropped the compl ai nt agai nst i mports of al l oyed
magnesi um si nce nei ther the exporters nor the
European i ndustry sol d al l oyed magnesi um. The
compl ai nt agai nst i mports from Kazakstan was al so
dropped si nce the quanti ti es i n questi on were consi d-
ered to be too smal l . Exempt from the duti es are the
two pri mary magnesi um-produci ng compani es i n
Russi a (Avi sma Ti tani um-Magnesi um Works and
Sol i kamsk Magnesi um Works) and the sol e producer
i n Ukrai ne (Concern Chl orvi ni l , Kal uzh Works). The
compani es were exempted after promi si ng to resol ve
the di spute wi th the EC, but the duti es remai n to
prevent thi rd parti es from undermi ni ng efforts by the
three producers.
I n I cel and, parti ci pants i n the I cel andi c Magnesi um
Project formed a joi nt-venture company, I cel andi c
Magnesi um Corporati on Li mi ted, for the constructi on
of a new magnesi um smel ter. Partners i n the project
i ncl ude I cel ands Sudurnes Regi onal Heati ng
Corporati on, Sal zgi tter Anl agenbau GmbH of
Germany, and Consorti um Magni y of Russi a. The
partners i n the project approved an agreement to
compl ete the feasi bi l i ty phase of the project by the
end of 1996. Fol l owi ng compl eti on of the study, a
deci si on wi l l be made on whether to go ahead wi th a
two-part project to bui l d a 25 000-t/y smel ter by the
second hal f of 1999 that woul d eventual l y be
expanded to 50 000 t/y.
I n June, General Motors Corporati on (GM) and Norsk
Hydro A/S announced an agreement to work towards
the i ncreased use of magnesi um al l oys i n automoti ve
appl i cati ons and a l ong-term agreement for the sup-
pl y of magnesi um metal . Wi th thi s new agreement,
GM wi l l be abl e to make a range of magnesi um al l oys
avai l abl e to both fi rst- and second-ti er suppl i ers for
fabri cati on i nto a vari ety of automoti ve parts.
Russian Federation
Metal l urg I nc. acqui red a mi nori ty equi ty stake i n
Sol i kamsk Magnesi um Works, the Russi an magne-
si um and rare metal s producer. Sol i kamsk produces
tantal um and ni obi um (col umbi um) oxi des, ti tani um
di oxi de, and rare earth compounds, and i s a major
producer of magnesi um. I n a separate transacti on,
Mi nmet Fi nanci ng Co. of Swi tzerl and al so bought a
United States
47%
Russia
12%
Norway
9%
Canada
16%
China
4%
Other
12%
Figure 2
World Primary Magnesium Production, 1995
Source: Natural Resources Canada.
Total: 303 500 t
36.4 CANADIAN MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1996
15% equi ty stake i n Sol i kamsk earl i er i n the year.
Sol i kamsk produces between 17 000 and 18 000 t of
pure and al l oyed magnesi um annual l y, and thi s year
began constructi on of a magnesi um granul es pl ant.
The pl ant was expected to start producti on by year-
end. Producti on wi l l begi n at about 2000 t/y and wi l l
suppl y Russi as domesti c desul phuri zati on sector.
Sol i kamsk i s al so l ooki ng to eventual l y bui l d a new
pl ant wi th a producti on capaci ty of 25 000 t/y.
Middle East
Dead Sea Magnesi um, a joi nt venture between
I srael s Dead Sea Works Li mi ted and Vol kswagen AG
of Germany, started magnesi um producti on i n
December from the pl ants fi rst el ectrol yti c cel l . The
pl ant i s schedul ed to begi n commerci al producti on i n
earl y 1997 and to produce up to 10 000 t for the rest
of the year duri ng the start-up phase. Eventual l y the
pl ant i s expected to i ncrease i ts producti on capaci ty
to 55 000 t/y.
El sewhere i n the Mi ddl e East, The Arab Potash
Company announced pl ans to bui l d a magnesi um
pl ant usi ng the bri nes from the Dead Sea as i ts feed
source. Arab Potash si gned a memorandum of under-
standi ng wi th Russi a to construct a 50 000-t/y pl ant
on the Jordani an si de of the Dead Sea.
China
Chi na has been sl owl y but steadi l y i ncreasi ng i ts
magnesi um producti on over the past few years,
l argel y wi th the assi stance of Japanese i nvestment.
Chi na may seek addi ti onal opportuni ti es to expand
even further i n an effort to doubl e i ts producti on
capaci ty to about 80 000 t/y over the next few years.
There are currentl y some 100 pl us smal l -scal e pl ants
operati ng i n Chi na, many of whi ch are operati ng at
onl y hal f capaci ty usi ng the Pi dgeon process.
Ni ppon Ki nzoku Co. Ltd. establ i shed a US$1.8 mi l -
l i on magnesi um smel ti ng venture wi th Chi nas
Ni ngxi a Huayuan Metal l urgi cal I mport and Export
Trade Corporati on. The joi nt venture, cal l ed Si l ver
Ri ver Corporati on, i s l ocated i n the Ni ngxi a Hui
autonomous regi on and was schedul ed to start pro-
ducti on i n March 1996 wi th a capaci ty of 1000 t/y of
refi ned magnesi um. The pl ant wi l l use l ocal sources
of dol omi te and produce hi gh-grade magnesi um
i ngots.
Tai yuan East-Uni ted Smel t Magnesi um Co. Ltd., a
joi nt-venture project between Chi nas Zhao Ji a Fort
Enterpri se Group and U.S.-based Shenwei I ndustri al
Hol di ngs Li mi ted, began magnesi um producti on i n
1996. The smel ter, l ocated i n Qi nxu County, Shanxi
Provi nce, began operati on i n June wi th a producti on
capaci ty of 10 000 t/y. I n addi ti on to pri mary magne-
si um i ngot, the pl ant al so produces a vari ety of mag-
nesi um al l oys that target the di e-cast market as wel l .
India
I ndi a conti nued to revi ew the possi bi l i ty of devel op-
i ng i ts l arge reserves of dol omi te and i ncreasi ng i ts
magnesi um metal producti on to meet growi ng
demand. Total recoverabl e reserves of dol omi te i n
I ndi a are currentl y an esti mated 5 bi l l i on t. There
are two magnesi um producers i n I ndi a empl oyi ng the
Pi dgeon process: Tami l Nadu Magnesi um Li mi ted
and Southern Magnesi um and Chemi cal s Li mi ted
(SMCL). SMCL announced that i t wi l l i ncrease i ts
magnesi um producti on to up to 700 t i n 1997 from
just under 520 t i n 1996. The company i s worki ng
towards i ncreasi ng capaci ty from i ts current 600 t/y
to 2000 t/y. I n addi ti on to pri mary i ngot producti on,
SMCL pl ans to expand i ts capaci ty to produce magne-
si um powders, granul es, al l oys and extrusi ons.
Australia
Queensl and Metal s Corp. Ltd. announced i n May
that i t was cl ose to fi nal i zi ng a joi nt-venture deal to
bui l d an A$640 mi l l i on magnesi um metal smel ter i n
Queensl and. The company decl i ned to speci fi cal l y
name the joi nt-venture parti es i nvol ved i n the di scus-
si ons; however, a major automoti ve manufacturer i s
bel i eved to be a l i kel y equi ty partner i n what woul d
be Austral i as fi rst magnesi um-produci ng project.
The smel ter, to be bui l t near Gl adstone i n central
Queensl and, i s expected to produce a mi ni mum of
60 000 t/y of magnesi um, wi th a possi bl e expansi on to
90 000 t/y. An offi ci al announcement outl i ni ng the
detai l s of the joi nt venture i s expected someti me i n
earl y 1997.
CONSUMPTION AND USES
Total worl d consumpti on of pri mary magnesi um
reached 303 700 t i n 1995, compared to 298 000 t i n
1994. I n Canada, reported magnesi um consumpti on
i n 1995 i ncreased by 3667 t to 27 230 t as the resul t
of a ri se i n consumpti on for casti ngs and wrought
products, whi ch i ncreased by 28% to 12 488 t, outpac-
i ng demand for the producti on of al umi num al l oys for
the fi rst ti me. Demand for al umi num al l oys
i ncreased sl i ghtl y to 12 413 t.
Magnesi um i s the ei ghth most abundant el ement i n
the earths crust, compri si ng over 2% of the total . I t
i s the thi rd most abundant el ement di ssol ved i n sea-
water wi th a concentrati on averagi ng 0.14% by
wei ght. Unl i ke many major el ements, magnesi um
does not occur i n i ts nati ve state, but i s found i n over
60 di fferent mi neral s. The pri nci pal sources of mag-
nesi um are as a carbonate i n dol omi te and magne-
si te; as a si l i cate i n ol i vi ne and bruci te; as an oxi de i n
serpenti ne; and as a chl ori de i n seawater, natural
bri nes and evapori tes, and sal t deposi ts. Magnesi um
metal i s currentl y produced from three major sources:
dol omi te/magnesi te, seawater, and bri nes and
bi tterns.
MAGNESIUM 36.5
Magnesi um i s best known for i ts l i ght wei ght and
hi gh strength-to-wei ght rati o, maki ng i t sui tabl e for a
wi de range of appl i cati ons. When used as a struc-
tural materi al , magnesi um i s al l oyed wi th several
other el ements i ncl udi ng al umi num, manganese,
rare-earth metal s, si l ver, thori um, zi nc and zi rco-
ni um. When al l oyed wi th one or a number of these
el ements, the resul ti ng al l oys can have unusual l y
hi gh strength-to-wei ght rati os. Magnesi um-
al umi num al l oys are the most common and are
pri nci pal l y used i n di e-cast appl i cati ons.
The mai n appl i cati on of magnesi um i s as an al l oyi ng
agent for al umi num, accounti ng for 48% of Western
Worl d consumpti on i n 1996. Accordi ng to the I MA,
Western Worl d magnesi um shi pments for thi s
appl i cati on reached 138 200 t i n 1996, compared to
157 100 t i n 1995. Magnesi um consumpti on for thi s
appl i cati on i s forecast to i ncrease by 2% annual l y.
The second l argest use of magnesi um i s i n structural
appl i cati ons where hi gh-pressure di e-cast products
are the most i mportant use. The I MA reported that
shi pments of magnesi um i n 1996 for di e-cast appl i ca-
ti ons total l ed 72 300 t. Total consumpti on of
magnesi um for thi s appl i cati on i s expected to exceed
100 000 t/y wi thi n the next fi ve years. Duri ng the
next decade, hi gh-pressure di e casti ng i s expected to
be the fastest growi ng sector, parti cul arl y i n the
Uni ted States and Europe.
The i ncreased i nterest i n magnesi um metal i n the
automoti ve market i s l argel y due to wei ght savi ngs of
about 33% compared to al umi num. Magnesi um al so
has good vi brati on-dampeni ng characteri sti cs. I ts
l ower heat of sol i di fi cati on, whi ch i ncreases di e-
casti ng producti on capaci ty by 25%, resul ts i n major
process energy savi ngs. I n addi ti on, magnesi um di es
are reported to have more than twi ce the l i fe of al u-
mi num di es. Furthermore, at a magnesi um-to-
al umi num pri ce rati o of 1.7:1.0, many magnesi um
metal parts can be fabri cated at a l ower cost than
those made from al umi num.
The enforcement of stri cter fuel effi ci ency and emi s-
si ons standards i s encouragi ng many auto manufac-
turers to reduce thei r vehi cl es wei ght. I ncreased
consumer demand for cars wi th added l uxury i tems i s
al so dri vi ng manufacturers to fi nd ways to reduce
automobi l e curb-wei ght. Many automobi l e manufac-
turers i n both the Uni ted States and Japan are l ook-
i ng to magnesi um to hel p reduce total vehi cl e wei ght
wi thout sacri fi ci ng consumer demand for l arger
vehi cl es.
Besi des automoti ve appl i cati ons, di e-cast magnesi um
products are wi del y used i n the manufacture of
portabl e tool s and sporti ng goods. The use of magne-
si um i n el ectroni cs equi pment, parti cul arl y computer
housi ngs and components, has grown substanti al l y.
Thi s trend i s expected to conti nue. Magnesi ums
advantages for these appl i cati ons are i ts good
strength-to-wei ght rati o, heat di ssi pati on, el ectro-
magneti c fi el d contai nment, and radi o frequency
i nterference di ssi pati on.
The thi rd l argest use of magnesi um i s as a desul -
phuri zi ng agent i n the ferrous i ndustry. Magnesi um
shi pments i n 1996 for desul phuri zati on, as reported
by the I MA, total l ed 39 600 t. Thi s sector, whi ch
grew at an average rate of 15%/y i n the l ate 1980s,
shoul d see a more moderate growth rate because of
the rati onal i zati on that took pl ace i n the steel
i ndustry.
Magnesi um i s i ntroduced i nto the mel t duri ng the
producti on of nodul ar i ron, whi ch i s used pri mari l y
for the producti on of ducti l e i ron pi pes and di e-cast
parts for use i n automobi l es and farm equi pment.
Shi pments i n 1996 total l ed 12 500 t, down from
14 500 t i n 1995. Thi s appl i cati on i s expected to con-
ti nue to face sti ff competi ti on as pl asti cs i ncreasi ngl y
penetrate the water pi pe market. Magnesi um i s al so
used as a reduci ng agent i n the producti on of ti ta-
ni um, beryl l i um, zi rconi um, hafni um and urani um.
El ectrochemi cal appl i cati ons account for about 4% of
magnesi um consumpti on for use i n the manufacture
of batteri es and i n anodes for the cathodi c protecti on
of gas pi pel i nes and water heaters. As wi th nodul ar
i ron, pl asti cs i n the gas pi pel i ne market conti nue to
penetrate thi s market. Chemi cal appl i cati ons i ncl ude
the manufacture of pharmaceuti cal products, per-
fumes and pyrotechni cs. Wrought products mai nl y
i ncl ude extruded products, except anodes, sheets and
pl ates; gravi ty casti ng i ncl udes the producti on of com-
pl ex or l arge parts by sand casti ng or casti ng wi th
other materi al s.
United States
and Canada
57%
Western Europe
23%
Asia and
Oceania
14%
Latin America
4%
Africa and
the Middle East
2%
Figure 3
Magnesium Shipments by World Zone, 1996
Source: International Magnesium Association.
36.6 CANADIAN MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1996
RECYCLING
The anti ci pated growth for magnesi um di e-cast parts
i n the automoti ve sector shoul d provi de greater
opportuni ti es for magnesi um recycl i ng. Norsk Hydro
Canada and Dow Chemi cal col l ect magnesi um scrap
from thei r cl i ents. Thi s source of suppl y i s expected
to i ncrease as magnesi um metal further penetrates
the automobi l e market.
Li ke al umi num, recycl ed magnesi um onl y requi res
about 5% of the energy requi red to produce pri mary
magnesi um. The recycl i ng of magnesi um i s expected
to i ncrease wi th the expected growth i n the use of
magnesi um di e-cast automobi l e parts.
Norsk Hydro began operati ng i ts new 10 000-t/y recy-
cl i ng faci l i ty at Porsgrunn, Norway. I ni ti al l y, the
pl ant wi l l accept metal from magnesi um casti ng
operati ons, but i t wi l l eventual l y accept other magne-
si um resi dues and ol d or used parts. Norsk Hydro
al so operates a 10 000-t/y recycl i ng pl ant at i ts
Bcancour smel ter i n Canada.
I n the Uni ted States, a number of new recycl i ng faci l -
i ti es are ei ther under constructi on or i n the pl anni ng
phase. The need for more recycl i ng capaci ty i n the
Uni ted States i s growi ng as the use of magnesi um for
automoti ve parts conti nues to grow. Four compani es
recycl e magnesi um scrap i n the Uni ted States:
Garfi el d Al l oys I nc., I MCO Recycl i ng I nc., Hal aco,
and Spectrul i te Consorti um I nc.
I n Jul y, Garfi el d Al l oys I nc. began constructi on of a
13 600-t/y magnesi um recycl i ng pl ant i n Bel l evue,
Ohi o. The pl ant, whi ch wi l l operate under the name
MagReTech I nc., i s expected to come on stream some-
ti me i n the second quarter of 1997 and wi l l process
hi gh-grade Type 1 scrap. Lower grades of magne-
si um scrap, i ncl udi ng post-consumer scrap, wi l l con-
ti nue to be recycl ed at the companys pl ant i n
Garfi el d Hei ghts near Cl evel and, Ohi o. Type 1 scrap
compri ses scrap materi al from di ecasters who use
magnesi um al l oys to make components for the auto-
moti ve and other sectors.
Spectrul i te Consorti um I nc. of I l l i noi s brought the
fi rst phase of i ts magnesi um recycl i ng expansi on on
stream at the begi nni ng of the year to recycl e Type 1
scrap i n the Uni ted States. The company brought
5000 t of new capaci ty on stream i n January, and i ts
capaci ty was expected to reach 20 000 t by year-end.
Spectrul i te al so operates a separate 20 000-t/y recy-
cl i ng pl ant that has been runni ng at the rate of
12 000 t/y, and i t may be upgraded to take Type 1
scrap as wel l .
MSI Magnesi um Servi ces (US) I nc. sti l l pl ans to bui l d
a 20 000-t/y pl ant to recycl e Type 1 scrap at a si te i n
I ndi ana. Last year MSI more than tri pl ed i ts ori gi nal
capaci ty pl ans to bui l d a magnesi um scrap refi ni ng
and al l oy producti on faci l i ty i n the state of I ndi ana by
l ate 1996. The new pl ant wi l l take i n scrap from
di ecasters and producers and recycl e i t i nto 24 000 t/y
of hi gh-puri ty al l oy i ngots for di e casti ng and another
8000 t/y of magnesi um chi ps for desul phuri zati on. I n
addi ti on, the pl ant desi gn provi des for an addi ti onal
expansi on to 56 000 t/y dependi ng on market condi -
ti ons.
PRICES AND STOCKS
Accordi ng to the I MA, total magnesi um stocks
i ncreased steadi l y throughout the year, ri si ng from
22 800 t at the end of 1995 to 33 400 t i n June 1996,
onl y to ri se agai n to 38 400 t by the end of September.
Pri ces for pri mary magnesi um conti nued on a down-
ward trend for most of the year as the market ti ght-
ness experi enced l ast year eased somewhat, parti cu-
l arl y outsi de North Ameri ca. Pri ces for U.S. di e-cast
al l oy and pri mary i ngot remai ned stabl e, whi l e spot
pri ces eased towards the end of the summer to fi ni sh
the year i n the US$1.70-$1.80/l b range. Norsk Hydro
cut i ts European producer pri ce for pure magnesi um
several ti mes i n 1996 to end the year at 5.95 Deutsche
Marks (DM)/kg, down from 6.95 DM/kg at the start of
the year. The downward pressure on pri ces i n
Europe was attri buted to rel ati vel y weak demand i n
magnesi ums pri nci pal markets (al umi num al l oyi ng
and steel desul phuri zati on). European Free Market
pri ces were al so weaker, fi ni shi ng the year i n the
US$2600-$2700/t range, down from $3900-$4000/t at
the start of the year. Norsk Hydros North Ameri can
l i st pri ce of US$1.94/l b was unchanged, refl ecti ng the
better market condi ti ons there compared to those i n
Europe.
Aluminum alloys
48%
Die-casting
24%
Desulphurization
13%
Electrochemical
3%
Chemical 2%
Wrought products 1%
Nodular iron 4%
Metal reduction 2%
Gravity casting 1%
Other 2%
Figure 4
Magnesium Shipments by Use, 1996
Source: International Magnesium Association.
MAGNESIUM 36.7
OUTLOOK
Canadi an producti on of magnesi um i ncreased dra-
mati cal l y at the start of the decade wi th the openi ng
of Norsk Hydros 40 000-t/y Bcancour smel ter i n
1989. I t subsequentl y dropped i n 1993 wi th the cl os-
i ng of Magcan and the U.S. trade acti on agai nst
Norsk Hydros exports. Producti on i s expected to
remai n stabl e i n 1997 as both producers conti nue to
operate at or near capaci ty to meet demand. I n the
l onger term, Magnol a Metal l urgy I nc.s 58 500-t/y
magnesi um smel ter to be bui l t near Asbestos,
Quebec, wi l l i ncrease Canadas magnesi um produc-
ti on capaci ty to cl ose to 105 000 t/y by the end of the
decade. Worl d magnesi um producti on i s expected to
reach 360 000 t/y i n 2000, and to i ncrease further to
500 000 t/y by 2005.
Worl d pri mary magnesi um consumpti on i s forecast to
i ncrease to 375 000 t/y by the end of the decade and
to 495 000 t/y by 2005. The Western Worl ds pri mary
magnesi um annual growth i n demand for thi s peri od
i s forecast to reach 5% i n North Ameri ca, 4% i n
Western Europe, and 9% i n the Far East. Thi s
growth wi l l be pri mari l y fed by strong demand for
magnesi um i n al umi num al l oys, di e-cast automoti ve
parts and, to a l esser extent, desul phuri zati on appl i -
cati ons i n the steel i ndustry. Magnesi um conti nues
to face sti ff competi ti on from other materi al s, i ncl ud-
i ng al umi num and pl asti cs, i n the al l -i mportant auto-
moti ve parts sector. New appl i cati ons and i ncreased
awareness of the advantages of magnesi um i n certai n
appl i cati ons are growi ng, parti cul arl y i n the North
Ameri can automoti ve i ndustry.
A major factor that wi l l affect magnesi um pri ces over
the next decade wi l l be the growth i n suppl y from
expansi ons or new capaci ty i n Canada, the Mi ddl e
East, Austral i a, and possi bl y Chi na. Thi s newer, l ow-
cost suppl y i s forecast to eventual l y cause pri ces to
decl i ne sl i ghtl y, i n constant dol l ar terms, over the
next decade. Pri ces, i n constant 1996 dol l ars, are
forecast to average i n the US$1.80-$1.90/l b range i n
1997, and to gradual l y decl i ne to the $1.50-$1.60/l b
range i n the l onger term.
Notes: (1) For definitions and valuation of mineral
production, shipments and trade, please refer to
Chapter 70. (2) I nformation in this review was
current as of February 19, 1997.
1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
110
Actual Forecast
Figure 5
Canadian Magnesium Production, 1985-2005
Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(000 tonnes)
1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
150
200
250
300
350
400
450
500
Figure 6
World Primary Magnesium Consumption,
1985-2005
Source: Natural Resources Canada.
(000 tonnes)
Forecast Actual
1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
Figure 7
Magnesium Prices, 1985-2005
Source: Natural Resources Canada.
Constant 1995 $
Current $
Forecast range
in constant 1995 $
(US$/lb)
36.8 CANADIAN MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1996
TARIFFS
Canada United States EU Japan
1
Item No. Description MFN GPT USA Canada MFN GATT
8104.11 Magnesium unwrought, containing
by weight at least 99.8% of
magnesium
3.2% Free 0.4% 0.8% 5.3% 5.1%
8104.19 Magnesium unwrought, n.e.s. 3.2% Free 0.4% 0.6% 4.5% 5.1%
8104.20 Magnesium waste and scrap Free Free Free Free Free 2.8%
8104.30 Magnesium raspings, turnings and
granules, graded according to size;
powders
8104.30.10 Raspings, turnings and granules;
powders, alloyed
5.9% 3% 1% 0.6% 4.5% 5.5%
8104.30.20 Powders, not alloyed 3.2% Free 0.4% 0.6% 4.5% 5.5%
8104.90 Other magnesium
8104.90.10 Bars, rods, plates, sheets, strip, foil,
tubes and pipes, alloyed
3.2% Free 0.4%
a
4.5% 5.5%
8104.90.90 Other 5.9% 3% 1%
a
4.5% 5.5%
Sources: Customs Tariff, effective January 1997, Revenue Canada; Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States 1997; The "Bulletin International des
Douanes," Journal Number 14 (18th Edition), European Union, 1995-1996, "Conventional" column; Custom Tariff Schedules of Japan, 1996.
n.e.s. Not elsewhere specified.
a
1.4/kg on magnesium content plus 0.3%.
1
GATT rate is shown; lower tariff rates may apply circumstantially.
TABLE 1. CANADA, MAGNESIUM EXPORTS AND IMPORTS BY COMMODITY AND COUNTRY,
1995 AND 1996
Item No. 1995 1996
p
(tonnes) ($000) (tonnes) ($000)
EXPORTS
8104.11 Magnesium unwrought, containing by weight at
least 99.8% of magnesium
Japan 4 285
r
20 097
r
2 209 12 162
Germany 1 326 6 047 1 913 9 805
United States 766 3 884 1 265 7 404
United Kingdom 1 247 7 474 744 4 788
Norway 514 2 414 1 151 3 315
Switzerland 350 1 751 404 2 066
France 211 972 325 1 689
Venezuela 387 1 863 207 1 218
Brazil 205 1 008
Other countries 2 666 11 864 326 1 721
Total 11 752
r
56 366
r
8 749 45 176
8104.19 Magnesium unwrought, other
United States 13 890 58 270 19 986 91 081
Australia 620 3 530 558 3 278
Italy 178 1 127 288 2 057
Netherlands 209 2 171 165 1 402
Singapore 36 781
Germany 78 454
Other countries 496
r
2 426
r
215 1 617
Total 15 393
r
67 524
r
21 326 100 670
8104.20 Magnesium waste and scrap
Norway 116 415 3 723 15 303
United States 8 565 26 631 1 458 4 454
Other countries 887 3 530 6 19
Total 9 568 30 576 5 187 19 776
8104.30 Magnesium raspings, turnings or granules,
graded according to size and powders
United States 629 3 756 2 377 11 228
Ireland 231 1 435 327 2 350
South Korea 265 1 541
Other countries 120 813 144 934
Total 980 6 004 3 113 16 053
8104.90 Magnesium and articles thereof, other
United States 1 031
r
5 763
r
1 092 7 457
Norway 171 248
Argentina 7 61
Other countries 115 869 18 137
Total 1 146
r
6 632
r
1 288 7 903
Total exports 38 839
r
167 102
r
39 663 189 578
MAGNESIUM 36.9
TABLE 1 (cont'd)
Item No. 1995 1996
p
(tonnes) ($000) (tonnes) ($000)
IMPORTS
8104.11 Magnesium unwrought, containing by weight at
least 99.8% of magnesium
China 337 1 826 2 121 9 240
Ukraine 752 4 019 103 445
United States 222 1 049 26 117
Other countries 1 931 10 011 11 27
Total 3 242 16 905 2 261 9 829
8104.19 Magnesium unwrought, other
United States 3 749 12 867 4 508 21 795
Norway 1 659 7 281 3 888 18 451
Russia 935 4 172 1 305 6 014
United Kingdom 119 825 247 1 443
China 52 263 250 1 104
Other countries 741 3 470 315 1 603
Total 7 255 28 878 10 513 50 410
8104.20 Magnesium waste and scrap
United States 3 697 10 873 8 574 26 829
Norway 1 4 208 1 017
Other countries 140 326 157 333
Total 3 838 11 203 8 939 28 179
8104.30 Magnesium raspings, turnings or granules,
graded according to size and powders
United States 270 1 108 287 1 266
Other countries 3 9 7 39
Total 273 1 117 294 1 305
8104.90 Magnesium and articles thereof, other
United States 930
r
5 864
r
866 6 469
Mexico 28 197
China 31 184
Australia 21 184
Norway 1 6 1 6
United Kingdom 1 5 . . . 2
Austria . . . 2
Total 932
r
5 878
r
947 7 042
Total imports 15 540
r
63 981
r
22 954 96 765
Source: Statistics Canada.
Nil; . . . Amount too small to be expressed;
p
Preliminary;
r
Revised.
Note: Numbers may not add to totals due to rounding.
TABLE 2. CANADA, CONSUMPTION
1
OF MAGNESIUM, 1989-95
1989
a
1990 1991
a
1992
a
1993
a
1994 1995
a, p
(tonnes)
Castings and wrought products
2
5 661 5 849 4 604 6 915 7 678 8 940 12 488
Aluminum alloys 7 761 7 672 9 215 9 203 10 174 12 389
r
12 413
Other uses
3
1 985 1 603 1 926 2 005 2 162 2 234 2 329
Total 15 407 15 125 15 745 18 123 20 014 23 563
r
27 230
Source: Natural Resources Canada.
p
Preliminary;
r
Revised.
a
Increase in number of companies being surveyed.

1
Available data as reported by consumers.
2
Die, permanent mould and sand castings, structural shapes, tubings, forgings,
sheet and plate.
3
Cathodic protection, reducing agents, desulphurizers and other alloys.
36.10 CANADIAN MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1996
TABLE 3. WORLD MAGNESIUM PRODUCTION, 1992-95
Country 1992 1993 1994 1995
p
(tonnes)
Austria (secondary) 100 100 100 100
Brazil 7 300 9 600 8 800 8 000
Brazil (secondary) 1 600 1 600 1 600 1 600
Canada
e
25 800 23 000 28 900 48 000
China
e
10 500 11 800 13 200 13 000
France 13 700 10 900 12 500 12 000
India 1 000 1 000 1 000 1 000
Italy 1 200
Japan 7 100 7 500 3 400
Japan (secondary) 13 000 13 200 19 000 11 800
Kazakstan
e
3 500 2 000
Norway 30 400 27 300 27 600 27 000
Russia
e
32 900 32 200 35 400 37 500
Ukraine
e
17 100 14 900 12 000 13 000
United Kingdom (secondary) 800 500 500 500
United States 136 900 132 100 128 500 142 000
United States (secondary) 57 000 58 900 62 100 65 000
Ex-Yugoslavia 4 100 2 000 2 000
Total (primary) 291 500 272 300 273 300 303 500
Total (secondary) 72 500 74 300 83 300 79 000
Total 364 000 346 600 356 600 382 500
Sources: Natural Resources Canada; International Consultative Group on Nonferrous Metals
Statistics.
Nil;
e
Estimated;
p
Preliminary.
MAGNESIUM 36.11
TABLE 4. WORLD CONSUMPTION OF MAGNESIUM, 1992-95
Country 1992 1993 1994 1995
p
(tonnes)
Argentina 400 400 400 400
Australia 3 500 4 000 4 000 4 000
Austria 4 300 3 500 3 500 3 500
Belgium/Luxembourg 2 600 2 200 4 400 4 000
Brazil 8 500 10 000 10 500 10 000
Cameroon 200 100 100 100
Canada 18 100 20 000 23 600 27 100
China
e
17 000 18 000 20 000 22 000
Denmark 200 200 200 200
Egypt
e
1 000 1 000 1 000 1 000
France 13 800 12 000 16 100 16 000
Germany 21 300 14 900 12 600 14 900
Ghana 100 100 100 100
Greece 600 1 000 1 000 1 000
Hungary
e
200 200 200 200
India 1 600 1 800 1 800 1 800
Italy 5 500 3 800 4 700 5 400
Japan (primary) 26 900 25 100 27 500 28 600
Japan (secondary) 13 000 13 100 14 300 17 100
Mexico 1 300 1 000 1 000 1 000
Netherlands 1 000 1 000 1 000 1 000
New Zealand
e
400 400 400 400
Norway
e
8 000 5 800 6 000 6 000
Poland
e
300 700 500 500
Romania
e
500 500 400 300
Slovakia
e
1 000 1 000
South Africa 600 500 800 800
South Korea 1 800 2 100 2 200 2 000
Spain 1 500 1 500 1 700 1 500
Sweden 1 700 1 800 1 800 1 800
Switzerland 2 600 1 800 2 300 3 000
Taiwan 1 700 1 600 1 900 1 900
Turkey 500 600 600 500
Ex-U.S.S.R.
e
30 000 25 000 25 000 25 000
United Kingdom 5 800 6 300 6 000 6 000
United States (primary) 93 800 101 100 111 800 109 000
United States (secondary) 57 000 58 900 62 100 65 000
Venezuela 700 600 600 500
Ex-Yugoslavia 1 000 500 400 200
Other
e
1 800 1 900 1 900 2 000
Total (primary) 281 800 274 000 298 000 303 700
Total (secondary) 70 000 72 000 76 400 82 100
Total 351 800 346 000 374 400 385 800
Sources: Natural Resources Canada; International Consultative Group on Nonferrous Metals Statistics.
Nil;
e
Estimated;
p
Preliminary.
36.12 CANADIAN MINERALS YEARBOOK, 1996
TABLE 5. WORLD PRIMARY MAGNESIUM SMELTER CAPACITY, 1996
Country Smelter Location Company Capacity
(t/y)
Brazil Bocaiuva Rima Industrial S.A. 12 000
Canada Bcancour Norsk Hydro Canada Inc. 40 000
Haley Station Timminco Metals 6 000
China Baotou Nei Mongol Province 3 500
Dancheng Henan Province 1 000
Fushun CNNC 5 000
Guigang Gaungxi Province 1 000
Hengyang Hunan Province 3 000
Huinong Ningxia Province 1 000
Jinzhou Liaoning Province 1 000
Minhe CNNC 4 000
Nanjing Nanjing Ube Magnesium 14 000
Ningxia Hui Silver River Corporation 1 000
Shanxi (7 plants) Shanxi Province 1 900
Taiyuan Taiyuan East United Smelt 10 000
Tongxin Ningxia Province 1 700
Yinchuan Ningxia Province 1 000
Yunnan Yunnan Province 200
France Maringnac Pechiney 18 000
India Valinokkam Tamil Nadu 600
Hyderabad Southern Magnesium 600
Kazakstan Ust Kamenogorsk Ust Kamenogorsk Works 40 000
Norway Porsgrunn Norsk Hydro AS 55 000
Russia Solikamsk Solikamsk Magnesium Works 20 000
Berezniki Avisma 25 000
Ukraine Kaluzh Kaluzh Works 24 000
Zaporozhyre Zaporozhyre Works 45 000
United States Freeport Dow Chemical 65 000
Addy Northwest Alloys 38 000
Rowley Magnesium Corp of America 38 000
Yugoslavia Bela Stena Magnohrom 9 000
Total 485 500
Source: Natural Resources Canada.
CNNC China National Nonferrous Metals Industry Corporation.
MAGNESIUM 36.13
TABLE 6. PRIMARY MAGNESIUM SHIPMENTS BY WORLD ZONE, 1986-96
Period
Area 1
United States
and Canada
Area 2
Latin
America
Area 3
Western
Europe
Area 4
Africa and
Middle East
Area 5
Asia and
Oceania
Area 6
COMECON
C.I.S. & PRC Total
(000 tonnes)
1986 103.3 11.3 73.6 3.2 35.0 226.4
1987 113.7 8.3 66.9 5.2 28.7 13.2 236.0
1988 125.0 11.7 70.6 3.8 33.8 6.2 251.2
1989 127.9 9.4 69.5 2.6 33.7 4.1 246.2
1990 127.3 11.6 68.7 4.0 37.6 2.8 252.0
1991 121.3 10.3 66.6 4.5 40.1 0.7 243.5
1992 139.5 10.3 67.9 3.8 35.0 0.8 257.3
1993 143.1 12.3 58.1 3.6 35.0 252.1
1994 152.7 14.5 76.0 4.6 39.6 287.4
1995 165.4 12.9 74.0 4.9 46.8 304.0
1996 167.6 11.7 68.4 5.3 42.4 295.4
Source: International Magnesium Association.
Nil.
TABLE 7. PRIMARY MAGNESIUM SHIPMENTS BY WORLD ZONE AND CATEGORY, 1996
Use
Area 1
United States
and Canada
Area 2
Latin
America
Area 3
Western
Europe
Area 4
Africa and
Middle East
Area 5
Asia and
Oceania
Area 6
Other Total
(000 tonnes)
Aluminum alloying 66.0 3.7 32.4 4.5 31.6 138.2
Die casting 50.6 6.4 12.2 0.1 3.0 72.3
Desulphurization 26.4 0.2 11.8 0.6 0.6 39.6
Nodular iron 6.5 0.5 3.7 1.8 12.5
Electrochemical
applications 6.1 0.6 1.6 1.3 9.6
Chemical applications 1.1 2.6 3.2 6.9
Metal reduction 3.4 1.6 5.0
Wrought products 3.6 0.1 0.3 4.0
Gravity casting 0.7 1.6 0.1 2.4
Other 3.2 0.3 0.8 0.1 0.5 4.9
Total 167.6 11.7 68.4 5.3 42.4 295.4
Source: International Magnesium Association.
Nil.
TABLE 8. PRIMARY MAGNESIUM SHIPMENTS BY CATEGORY, 1986-96
1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
(000 tonnes)
Aluminum alloying 122.1 122.1 134.3 130.8 130.6 137.9 133.8 126.0 143.0 157.1 138.2
Die casting 26.8 26.6 28.5 28.6 36.3 30.7 34.5 38.6 51.2 64.1 72.3
Desulphurization 20.3 21.9 28.6 32.3 28.0 28.1 36.6 40.6 42.5 36.3 39.6
Nodular iron 12.3 14.2 15.8 16.9 14.4 13.7 13.3 13.4 16.2 14.5 12.5
Electrochemical
applications 8.3 8.0 8.0 8.1 9.6 9.2 9.5 9.4 11.7 10.6 9.6
Chemical applications 8.0 7.2 8.1 5.5 7.1 7.1 7.3 6.5 6.2 6.5 6.9
Metal reduction 9.6 8.8 10.2 9.4 8.8 5.6 7.4 5.1 3.8 3.9 5.0
Wrought products 5.4 8.4 7.4 6.2 6.7 5.7 6.8 5.8 5.3 4.2 4.0
Gravity casting 1.6 1.8 2.1 2.5 3.3 2.2 2.6 1.5 1.8 1.8 2.4
Other 10.0 17.0 8.2 6.9 7.2 3.3 5.5 5.2 5.7 5.0 4.9
Total 226.4 236.0 251.2 247.2 252.0 243.5 257.3 252.1 287.4 304.0 295.4
Source: International Magnesium Association.