A zirconia-mullite-spinel based composite system was synthesized by a non-conventional route. Zircon flour, reactive alumina and light calcined magnesia were used to prepare the precursor material. The compacted powder mix was fired at different temperatures (approx. 1440, 1500 and 1600°C). Remarkable density was achieved in the sintered compacts, Their compressive strength increased with increasing zirconia contents and sintering temperatures, while porosities were found to vary as a function of the batch composition. The properties were related to the microstructure and phase distribution in the sintered compacts.