Global kaolin market size was estimated at USD 4.42 billion in 2013. Growing demand for ceramic products including sanitary ware and tiles is expected to drive demand. Increasing applications of the mineral as a supplementary cementitious material in the cement industry is expected to be a key factor contributing towards growth.
Numerous regulations including the Global Warming Solutions Act 2006 and the Clean Air Act aimed at reducing carbon footprint and emission of green house gases has resulted in increasing demand for supplementary cement materials (SCM). These materials include metakaolin and dehydroxylated kaolin which are gaining importance as cement extenders and have contributed in augmenting demand over the forecast period.
These materials do not produce any CO2 and require very low energy for production. Therefore, manufacturers are turning towards this SCM for construction purposes owing to increased strength, durability and resistance to ions. This has further propelled the growth in the recent past, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. Global kaolin market prices have witnessed fluctuations over the past few years on account of supply-demand gap and increasing energy costs.
The global industry is expected to witness growth owing to its use as filler and coating material in the paper and pulp industries. Several regulations such as EU’s Regulation 1169/2011, U.S. FDA’s Food Labeling Guide and India’s Food Safety & Standards (Packaging & Labeling) provide mandatory printing of food related information on packaging. This has resulted in creating opportunities for paper packaging industry to expand their market.
Kaolin increases gloss, smoothness, brightness and paint absorbency of the paper, which further improves the printability of the paper surface. These properties are responsible for increasing the demand for the mineral from the paper and packaging industry, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period.
Metakaolin is utilized in the production of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) owing to its ability to accelerate hydration. This is a key feature for incorporating greater resistance to efflorescence. This has resulted in growing popularity of metakaolin and has resulted in fueling growth
Rapid infrastructure development in emerging economies including India and China owing to rising population and improving standards of living has resulted in the growth of the construction industry which is in turn contributing towards industry growth.
North America kaolin market by application, 2012-2020, (USD Million)
The paper was the largest application segment accounting for over 40% of global volume share. It is used as a paper coating agent in the paper industry on account of its ability to improve various characteristics including appearance and printability. Also, it can substitute calcium carbonate as a coating for paper.
There has been a growing demand for the mineral from the paints industry on account of its ability to improve gloss and color properties which has contributed to the growth of the industry. In addition, it also helps in improving product life which is a very important feature. Paint applications are expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% from 2014 to 2020.
Asia Pacific kaolin market accounted for 30% of global volume share in 2013 owing to the growth of paper and paint industries in the region. An increasing number of ceramic manufacturing industries in China has contributed to the growth of the industry over the past few years, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period.
The Middle East is another potential market over the next few years, owing to on-going and upcoming large construction projects which are expected to augment demand over the forecast period. The Economic slowdown in Europe has had a negative impact on the manufacturing and construction industry in the region and is expected to hamper growth.
Imerys SA, Quarzwerke GmbH, I-Minerals Inc., SCR-Sibelco N.V. are some of the companies that dominate the global market. Global kaolin market share is highly fragmented on account of the presence of a large number of manufacturers. Companies are concentrated mostly in the U.S. owing to the presence of large deposits.
In May 2014, Nedmag and Imerys S.A entered into a strategic alliance to cater to paper and pulp industry in Europe. In October 2014, Thiele entered into a distribution agreement with Univar to increase its penetration and reach in Canadian markets with the help of Univar’s well-situated warehouses & technical expertise.
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