How is the element Magnesium made or acquired?

1 Answer
Jan 21, 2016

The most common ores are forms of magnesium carbonate.


Dolomite ores, #CaMg(CO_3)_2# are also an important commercial source. See this site for further details.

Note that the occurrence of magnesium as a carbonate illustrates a chemical principle. Most carbonates are insoluble; therefore we can mine metal carbonates.

Once you have the ore mined, you still have to reduce the magnesium ion to give the metal. The ores are treated with (vast) quantities of hydrochloric acid to give #MgCl_2#. The salt is then electrolytically reduced (which process must run up a tremendous power bill). The resultant metal is strong, lightweight and a desirable commodity