Magnesium – the eighth most abundant element of the earth’s crust and the third most plentiful element found dissolved in seawater.
Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/16/2015 -- The global market for magnesium is highly consolidated in terms of production value, with China being the leader. In 2013, China produced nearly 770,000 tons of magnesium, accounting for more than 85% of the total production value of the entire globe. With a continuous rise in the country's production value, China is projected to continue its dominance in the world market for magnesium over the next many years. However, the Chinese magnesium industry is suffering from an apparent consolidation – eight Chinese magnesium producers rank amongst the top 10 of the world. Moreover, domestic competition is at paramount level and operating rate is barely more than 50%.
China is not only the world's topmost producer of magnesium but also the most dominant consumer of the metal. North America, Europe, Russia, and Japan are other major markets for magnesium. Of the key applications of magnesium, the report states that aluminum alloys are the primary takers of magnesium worldwide. Although, recently, die-casting alloys have outpaced the use of aluminum alloys due to their increased use in the automotive industry. Magnesium die-cast alloys also find applications in the manufacturing of housings for laptops, tablets, communication devices, and electronic equipment.
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Currently, the packaging industry is a key end-use sector of magnesium-based aluminum alloys, followed by the automotives, construction, and consumer durables industries. Magnesium's use in titanium metal's production accounts for the third largest use of magnesium. The use of magnesium in manufacturing of steel accounts for the fourth largest use of the metal, an area which has seen a significant decline over the past few years owing to the recent global economic depression and the resultant decline in steel output in many countries.
The principle use of magnesium comes as die-cast structural parts in the transport industry. The low density of magnesium imparts it considerable potential as a lightweight material for many applications and allows it to offer valuable advantages to transport by lowering the overall weight of vehicles. Magnesium leads to weight reduction of nearly 55% in the end-product as compared to conventional steel and nearly 25% as compared to aluminum.
Global automakers are in a race for developing increasingly lighter vehicles by experimenting with magnesium instead of the rather conventional aluminum and reinforced carbon fiber parts. In a recent development, Renault Samsung Motors along with steel giant Posco have jointly developed magnesium sheet parts for automobiles that are reportedly 61% lighter than the equivalent steel components.
Magnesium's use in vehicles has been observed for several decades. However the recent global pressures regarding emission reduction targets have helped magnesium in outpacing traditional materials such as steel. The flourishing global market for automobiles is expected to boost the global consumption of magnesium on a global front.
Magnesium is also used as a reducing agent for the production of titanium and other metals. As an alloy, magnesium finds applications as structural components of machineries. Magnesium oxides are used as refractory material in furnace linings; many other magnesium compounds are used in chemical, agricultural, and construction industries. As an aluminum alloy, magnesium is seen in packaging applications, with this market continuing to show increased demand due to economic development in emerging markets.
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