Growth in the technical and advanced ceramics industry is expected to fuel the demand for halloysite during the forecast period. Use of halloysite in tableware of high quality is also expected to assist the growth of the market in the upcoming years. However, the rare commercially exploitable occurrence of halloysite is likely to be a key restraining factor for the growth of the market in the near future. Numerous applications in nanotechnology is expected to present plenty of opportunities for the halloysite market during the forecast period.
Halloysite is a mineral clay comprising aluminosilicate. It occurs freely but rarely in nature, formed due to hydrothermal changes, generally near carbonate rocks. It is also a precursor to kaolin as a weathering product. Commercially exploitable deposits of halloysite are present in New Zealand, mid-western U.S., Poland and Turkey.
Demand for halloysite was dominated by high quality tableware industry in porcelain and bone china. However, applications in advanced ceramics are expected to account for a large share of halloysite demand in the near future. Advanced ceramics are used in molecular sieves for gas separation & water absorption, honeycomb catalyst supports in exhaust systems, filters and other refractory and electronic applications. Owing to its rolled up tube-like crystal form, halloysite has high growth potential in nanotechnology applications such as pharmaceutical delivery, polymer strengthening and micro-electronics. Halloysite clay, as filler for paints & coatings, possesses characteristics superior to existing additive ingredients such as kaolin, titanium and silica.
Halloysite demand was dominated by Europe due to high ceramic production in the region in 2013. Asia Pacific is expected to witness an increase in halloysite demand over the next few years, especially in Japan and China owing to the growing ceramic industry. U.S. is expected to witness increase in demand for halloysite on account of increasing R&D activities on nanotechnology and growing use of the mineral in ceramics.
The market for halloysite is concentrated in nature owing to its limited occurrence. The highest grade halloysite is supplied from New Zealand. Key players in the halloysite market are Applied Minerals, Imerys Ceramics, I-Minerals and Atlas Mining Company.
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