The global base metals market is expected to witness growth over the forecast period, driven by industrialization and urbanization. Application industry growth including construction, industrial machinery, consumer products and electronics & electrical are expected to fuel the market demand over the next seven years. Superior properties of base metals including high strength, corrosion resistance, low maintenance and longevity are anticipated to propel the market growth. Technological advancements in extraction and deep mining for base metals in order to meet the rising demand of end-use industries are expected create growth opportunities over the forecast period. However, risks associated with deep mining coupled with stringent government regulations owing to depleting reserves are anticipated to hinder the market demand. Additionally, decline in global metal prices owing to emerging alternatives and low demand for base metals from China, Europe and the U.S. are anticipated to impact the market growth.
U.S. is projected to be the fastest growing regional market over the forecast period owing to growing construction industry. Asia Pacific base metals demand is also expected to witness significant growth on account of rapid industrialization and infrastructure development in emerging economies including India and China. Europe is expected to witness augmented base metals market demand over the forecast period owing to rising use of corrosion-free materials in the electronics industry. However, abundant availability and reduced prices of base metals coupled with supportive government regulations are poised to lower entry barriers for new market participants over the next seven years. Base metals are used in various manufacturing industries including batteries & fuel cell, brass, cans and electrical wiring. Growing applications of base metals for hardening & strengthening of alloys, casting, plating and coating reactive metals are expected to provide growth opportunities over the next seven years.
As of 2005, BHP Billiton acquired copper/uranium mines in the Olympic Dam in South Australia and lead/silver/zinc mine in Queensland with a view to expand business. In 2014, Lundin Mining, a base metal mining company acquired 80% ownership in Candelaria Mining Complex of Freeport-McMoRan Inc. in a USD 1,852 million deal. The market has experienced many patent registrations in the past few years including University Of Cape Town and Western Platinum Ltd’s patent for “Energy efficient recovery of precious metals and base metals” (WO 2012114165 A1); Horizons Inc’s patent for “Production of hard surfaces on base metals” (US 2950233 A); Vale S/A’s patent for “Recovery of base metals from sulfide ores and concentrates” (US 20140020510 A1) and Wadsworth Watch Case Co’s patent for “Decorating base metals or alloys of base metals “ (US 1862231 A). Increasing patent registrations are expected to result in high degree of industry rivalry along with strong market positioning. Alcoa, Rio Tinto Limited, Cliffs Natural Resources, Anglo American and Vedanta Resources are other key players present in the global base metals market.
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