Magnesium Carbonate - MgCO3

What is Magnesium Carbonate?

MgCO3 is an inorganic salt with chemical name Magnesium Carbonate. It is also called Magnesite or Hydromagnesite or Barringtonite. Hydrated forms of magnesite such as di, tri, tetrahydrates are present as minerals. It acts as a fertilizer and as an antacid. It is widely used in the manufacturing of materials that are capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures.

Hydromagnesite is a white or yellowish or grayish-white or brown coloured compound which is obtained in crystalline powder or crystalline solid form. It is an important ore for magnesium. It is a carbonate salt, a one-carbon compound, and a magnesium salt.

Properties of Magnesium Carbonate – MgCO3


Magnesium Carbonate

Molecular weight of MgCO3

84.3139 g/mol (anhydrous)

Density of Magnesium Carbonate

2.958 g/cm3 (anhydrous)

Melting point of Magnesium Carbonate

350 °C

Boiling point of Magnesium Carbonate


Magnesium Carbonate structure – MgCO3

Magnesium Carbonate structure

MgCO3 Uses (Magnesium Carbonate)

  • Magnesium Carbonate is used in food as a drying agent.
  • Used in making pharmaceutical products.
  • Used as rubber reinforcing agent.
  • Used in the manufacturing of cosmetics.
  • Used in making mineral water.
  • Used as an anticaking agent in food.
  • Used as filtering agent.
  • Used as fire-extinguishing.
  • Used in printing inks.

Production of Magnesium Carbonate

It can be prepared in the laboratory by reacting any soluble sodium bicarbonate and magnesium salt. The reaction is as follows:

MgCl2(aq) + 2NaHCO3(aq) → MgCO3(s) + 2NaCl(aq) + H2O(l) + CO2(g)

If sulfate or magnesium chloride is treated with aqueous sodium carbonate, a hydrated complex of magnesium carbonate as well as magnesium hydroxide, a precipitate of magnesium carbonate, is formed. The reaction is as follows:

5MgCl2(aq) + 5Na2CO3(aq) + 5H2O(l) → Mg(OH)2·3MgCO3·3H2O(s) + Mg(HCO3)2(aq) + 10NaCl(aq)

Industrially it can be obtained by combining a slurry of magnesium hydroxide and carbon dioxide at moderate temperature and high pressure. On vacuum drying the bicarbonate, it loses carbon dioxide (CO2) and water molecule:

Mg(OH)2 + 2 CO2 → Mg(HCO3)2

Mg(HCO3)2 → MgCO3 + CO2 + H2O

Health hazards

When magnetise is inhaled or comes in contact with the eyes and skin it causes irritation.

Learn more about the Structure, physical and chemical properties of MgCO3 from the experts at BYJU’S.

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