Magnesium, one of the overlooked industrial minerals that play a crucial role in our society, comes under scrutiny by Chris Berry in a new 10-page report. The metal’s uses range from alloys, fertilizer, refractories and flame retardants to water purification. A typical car, for example, contains roughly 10 to 12 pounds of magnesium. According to a report jointly issued by GM, Ford and Chrysler, estimates suggest that “by 2020, 250 pounds of magnesium will replace 500 pounds of steel, and 90 pounds of magnesium will replace 130 pounds of aluminum per vehicle, resulting in an overall 15% weight reduction.”
China produces about 70% to 80% of global supply, thanks to lax environmental standards, plentiful labour and cheap coal. But “while overall supply may not be an issue, security of supply is likely a better lens with which to view the magnesium market,” Berry writes.
Presenting a clear, balanced overview, Berry’s report sheds light on a little-known but essential commodity.