Important Uses of Magnetite

Magnetite, a common oxide mineral, is also an important ore of iron found in sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks.

Uses and Interests

Easy to identify, magnetite is an opaque, black metallic to sub-metallic mineral with the most magnetic properties of all natural metals. Magnetite is sometimes auto-magnetized and attracts metal objects.

Most importantly magnetite is mined as an ore of iron, according to The Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom. The iron is then used to make steel; this is the ore's main use. Magnetite is also used as a micronutrient in fertilizers, an aggregate in high-density concrete, a toner in electro-photography and as a pigment in paint. Mineral collectors favor magnetite for its crystals, and scientists take an interest in magnetite for its magnetic properties. Water jet cutting uses finely ground magnetite as an abrasive.

Mixtures

A naturally occurring mixture of magnetite and corundum produces an abrasive known as emery, according to the Geology.com website. Synthetic emery is produced by mixing aluminum oxides with magnetite, which allows for more control over particle size. Liquids used as heavy media for specific gravity separations are sometimes composed of powdered magnetite mixed with water. A suspension of magnetite is used to separate clean coal particles from those contaminated with pyrite, a sulfur mineral.

Alternative Medicine

Alternative medicine practitioners value magnetite for its healing qualities, according to Gemstones Magic Healing. A bracelet of magnetite is said to work for migraines; anklets for knee joint, heel spurs or foot problems and necklaces for neck, back or shoulder pain. Magnetite is also said to act as an amplifier for other medicinal stones. As a safety precaution, magnetite should not be worn by persons with a pacemaker.

About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.