Similar to the production of lime, magnesite can be burned in the presence of charcoal to produce MgO, which, in the form of a mineral, is known as periclase. Large quantities of magnesite are burnt to make magnesium oxide: an important refractory material used as a lining in blast furnaces, kilns and incinerators. Calcination temperatures determine the reactivity of resulting oxide products and the classifications of light burnt and dead burnt refer to the surface area and resulting reactivity of the product, typically as determined by an industry metric of the iodine number. 'Light burnt' product generally refers to calcination commencing at 450 °C and proceeding to an upper limit of 900 °C - which results in good surface area and reactivity. Above 900 °C, the material loses its reactive crystalline structure and reverts to the chemically inert 'dead-burnt' product- which is preferred for use in refractory materials such as furnace linings.
Magnesite can also be used as a binder in flooring material. Furthermore, it is being used as a catalyst and filler in the production of synthetic rubber and in the preparation of magnesium chemicals and fertilizers.
In fire assay, magnesite cupels can be used for cupellation as the magnesite cupel will resist the high temperatures involved.
Magnesite can be cut, drilled, and polished to form beads that are used in jewelry-making. Magnesite beads can be dyed into a broad spectrum of bold colors, including a light blue color that mimics the appearance of turquoise.