PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
OF THE REFRACTORY MARKET IN RUSSIA.
A COMMENT ON THE ACTUAL SITUATION
O. V. Bogdan
and G. A. Voskresenskii
Translated from Ogneupory i Tekhnicheskaya Keramika, No. 6, pp. 24 – 27, June, 2002.
The refractory products commercially available in Rus
sia are mainly manufactured from magnesite, dinas, high-
alumina, chamotte, quartzite, aluminosilicate, silica, peri
clase, mullite corundum, and some other materials. In ap
pearance, the end products are classified into shaped (for ex
ample, brick) and unshaped (powders and mixtures).
A point to be noted is that most commercial refractories
are interchangeable, which provides grounds for considering
the market of refractory materials a single economic entity.
For example, ladle refractories for the lining of steel-teaming
ladles are made from materials of aluminosilicate, silica,
magnesia, and high-alumina composition. For the same pur-
pose, packing mixtures of mullite-corundum and quartzite-
clay composition can be used. Still, the main factor that de-
termines the specialization of an enterprise for production of
one type or another of refractories is how far the enterprise is
located from a source of raw materials.
The technological progress made in the metallurgy and
machine-building industries has necessitated the replacement
of traditional aluminosilicate refractories by new materials —
– C. The foreign production of
high-alumina refractories (mainly based on low-ferroan
bauxites) has increased 1.5 – 2-fold over the last 10 – 15
years to account for 17 – 19% of the total output of refrac
tory materials in developed countries. In Russia, the output
of these products based on man-made raw materials — in
dustrial alumina and electrically fused corundum — does not
exceed 2.5%. In principle, the well-developed raw materials
base for bauxites in the European part of Russia can be
changed over to the use of non-alumina materials; however,
in reality this is an unlikely variant allowing for the shortage
of alumina materials in the domestic market.
Worldwide, the refractory industry is one of the major
consumers of zirconium concentrate (from 15 to 48%),
whose annual output amounts to 450 – 570 thousand tons
(recalculated in terms of 100% ZrO
). Russia, with its 8.5%
of the world reserves of zirconium, is not among the manu
facturers of zirconium-based refractories. Some 80% of bad
deleyite concentrate available from the Kovdorskii Mining
and Dressing Work as a by-product goes for export (about
5 thousand tons/year).
Judging from the world experience, promising for com
mercial recovery may be titanium-zirconium placers that
mainly occur in the European part of Russia and in Western
The structure of production of magnesia refractories in
Russia is far from perfect and, in a sense, even paradoxical.
In the Russian Federation, with its about 35% of the world
magnesite reserves, the only manufacturer of commercial
periclase powder is the Kombinat Magnezit Joint-Stock Co.
with its raw materials base being in a critical state (there is a
long-standing need for a changeover to underground reco-
very). Since 1989, the production output has decreased by
nearly 80% and at present amounts to less than 2.5 million
tons per year. The deficit in magnesia refractories is covered
by import (about 20% of the requirements; with allowance
for the actual recovery rate, the deficit will rise to about 30%
by 2005) — and at the same time the Kombinat Magnezit
JSC, finding a poor home market, produces periclase powder
for export (mainly for Ukraine and Kazakhstan). In 2001, the
export of periclase powder from Russia was 138 thousand
tons, and the import was about 13 thousand tons. Since late
2000, the Kombinat Magnezit JSC has become an active pro
moter of refractories from China to the Russian market.
The well-developed raw materials base for magnesite in
the Urals, Krasnoyarskii Krai (Krasnoyarsk territory), Ir
kutsk Region, and Chita Region requires a deeper geological
and economic analysis to revise the available reserves. Until
2002, commercial development of the magnesite deposits
(except for the Satkinskoe deposit) was rather limited. At the
same time, the Magir Joint-Stock Co., the development cen
ter for the Savinskoe magnesite deposit (Irkutsk Region), is
planning to recover, in 2002, some 200 thousand tons of ore,
a 2.5-fold increase over 2001. Reserves of the deposit
amount to 151.7 million tons of ore. Owing to the moderni
zation conducted, ore output can be sharply increased in the
Refractories and Industrial Ceramics Vol. 43, Nos.5–6, 2002
1083-4877/02/0506-0226$27.00 © 2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation
Ogneupor-Komplekt Joint-Stock Co., Russia; Metally Evrazii
(Metal of Euroasia) Journal, Moscow, Russia.