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Future Trends - Magnesium

The future of magnesium process technology is unclear. Magnesium metal is made using either an electrolytic or thermal process. The electrolytic route lends itself to large-scale plants with high capital costs and low operating costs (provided power costs are competitive). It involves three key process stages: preparation and purification of magnesium oxide, dehydration, and electrolysis. The thermal route conventionally uses silicon or ferrosilican as a reductant and involves small plants with low capital cost but higher operating costs.

As market demand increases, a number of forecasts suggest that the future development of magnesium production will follow a path that involves:

  • Industry growth is based on large new plants realizing scale economics
  • New facilities will be sited far from markets and in low-cost locations (like Australia).
  • Low cost energy locations will have a huge advantage