Smelting Chemicals Market: Introduction
Smelting is a metallurgical process used to extract a metal from its ore. Various smelting chemicals are required as reducing agents and catalysts, among other functions in the smelting process. Smelting requires heat to decompose the ore and remove all other elements as slag or gas, leaving the metal to be extracted behind. Smelting chemicals used as reducing agents are majorly carbon sources such as coal, charcoal and coke. Reduction is done at high temperatures, wherein the elemental metal is obtained, while other contents are removed in the form of slag. This is also known as a form of extractive metallurgy. A reducing environment removes the oxygen atoms from the raw metal. It requires high temperatures varying over a large range, in terms of both, absolute as well as melting point of the mineral.
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Smelting Chemicals Market: Dynamics
With the depletion of reserves globally, the mining industry is facing low productivity. The availability of quality ore has been declining and as a result, reserves from deeper inside the earth are being exploited. In light of this complexity in mining, the demand for smelting chemicals has been rising, owing to their high utilization in the extraction of desired minerals. Globally, robust growth in urbanization, coupled with higher standards of living, drive the need for energy, which in turn drives the mining sector and surges the subsequent demand for smelting chemicals. The average ore grade for gold can vary from 1-4 g/ton to 8-10 g/ton. Attributing to the extraction of gold from low-grade ores found in a number of mines in China, there is an increasing demand for smelting chemicals in the country.
Depleting supply has to a shift in focus towards the consideration of new mines with targeted exploration and geographic expansion by investors in countries such as South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Australia, among others. The demand for smelting chemicals is expected to witness significant growth during the forecast period. This steep growth in the demand can be accredited to the global mining industry, which is cyclical in nature and depends upon the performance of various further down-stream end-use sectors. Thus, the growth of the mining industry is correlated to the overall global economic scenario. Relatively slow economic growth, political turmoil, growing protectionism, etc. are some of the key factors leading to a decrease in commodity demand and weakening of investor confidence, in turn resulting in the subdued growth of the global mining industry.
Smelting chemicals are relatively expensive, which is anticipated to further restrain the growth of the global smelting chemicals market. On the other hand, the current trend to use new and better products for better results is expected to increase the demand for smelting chemicals over the forecast period.
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Smelting Chemicals Market: Regional Outlook
Asia Pacific holds a significant share in the global smelting chemicals market, owing to the substantial growth of the mining industry in this region. This growth is supported by the growing need for energy due to industrialization, urbanization and improved lifestyle among the general population. Asia Pacific is expected to be followed by Latin America and Eastern Europe. North America and Europe are projected to exhibit slow growth, being mature markets. The rest of the world is estimated to account for a relatively small share of the smelting chemicals market.
Smelting Chemicals Market: Market Participants
Some of the examples of market participants operating across the value chain of the global smelting chemicals market are:
- AkzoNobel N.V.
- Clariant International Ltd.
- Cytec Industries Inc.
- Kemira OYJ
- BASF SE
- Huntsman International LLC
- Orica Limited.
- Cytec Industries
- Chevron Phillips Chemical Company
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