Why Choose Magnesium?
The lightness of magnesium makes it an attractive material for applications where weight reduction is critical, in particular, consumer electronics and transportation industries. Despite its advantages as a material the use of magnesium worldwide is a tiny fraction of other materials (steel, plastic, aluminium). Amongst the reasons for this, the metal’s price has not been a significant factor until recently. Throughout the period of 2001-2006, magnesium has been cheaper than both aluminium and zinc on a volumetric basis. An issue that magnesium presently faces is a perceived insecurity of supply. 77% of primary magnesium is produced within China and the price has seen some enormous shifts. In late 2005 the magnesium price (primary FOB China) was about 1500USD/t. By the third quarter of 2008 it had risen to over 6000USD/t only to fall in recent month to below 3000USD/t. The current pricing levels of around 3000USD/t could prove beneficial if maintained over a long period, if it led to the establishment of new producers and a diversification of the supply base.
M.S. Dargusch & S.M. Keay
T. B. Abbott "Why Choose Magnesium?", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 618-619, pp. 3-6, 2009