A lightweight material that is increasingly favoured by the automotive industry due to its role in improving fuel efficiency.

Magnesium (Mg)

Magnesium metal is renowned for reducing the weight of components without reducing their overall strength. Demand is increasing due to its many applications in transportation, particularly because using magnesium alloys in place of heavier metals in multiple car parts allows manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency in vehicles. China dominates the magnesium supply chain, particularly at the refining stage, though global reserves are widespread. Current magnesium operations are rarely associated publicly with major ESG issues. Yet a major challenge for new potential producers is extracting and refining the metal in a more energy efficient manner to reduce environmental impacts.

There are distinct supply chains for magnesium metal and magnesium compounds. This profile covers the supply chain of magnesium metal.

Main Uses and Attributes

As the lightest of the most regularly employed structural materials, magnesium in its casting alloy shape has many applications in the automotive industry, including in gearboxes, steering columns and fuel tank covers.1 Its attractive to the automotive industry is strongly related to its low weight – magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel and 33 percent lighter than aluminium – which therefore improves fuel efficiency.2 Magnesium’s applications extend to aviation, train manufacturing and aerospace.

Additionally, when commercialised as a pure metal, magnesium is implemented as a desulphurisation agent to prevent brittleness in steel and in aluminium alloys. It enhances the strength of aluminium for packaging applications such as cans and trays, but it is also used in construction, for cladding, roofing or in parts such as doors and windows. Magnesium has a range of others uses, including in medical, sports and portable electronics applications.3

Main Uses

  • Cars
  • Electronics
  • Metal Alloys
  • Steel

Key Industries

  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Transportation

Key Countries

Top Producer China

Supply Chain Risk

TDi assesses Magnesium for key risks affecting the security of supply, and for its association with artisanal and small-scale mining.

Overall Supply Chain Resilience Risk
Strength of Association with ASM
Very Low Moderate Very High

Country Governance Risks

Magnesium's association with countries experiencing:

Violence and Conflict
Weak Rule of Law
Poor Human Rights
Poor Environmental Governance
Very Low Moderate Very High

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