Industrial Minerals / Zirconium: Global industry markets and outlook, 13th edition 2011
- 1. Summary
- 2. Zirconium mineralogy, occurrence and reserves
- 3. Mining, processing and production of zircon, zirconium chemicals and zirconium metal
- 4. World production of zirconium minerals
- 5. World processed zircon capacity
- 6. Production and processing of zirconium minerals, chemicals and metal by country
- 7. International trade in zirconium minerals and products
- 8. Consumption of zircon, zirconia and zirconium metal
- 9. Use of zircon and zirconia in traditional ceramics
- 10. Use of zircon in zirconium chemicals
- 11. Use of zircon in foundry sands
- 12. Use of zircon and zirconia in refractories
- 13. Use of zircon in other applications
- 14. Prices of zircon and zirconium products
Zirconium: Global industry markets and outlook, 13th edition 2011
Zircon consumption rebounded strongly in 2010, to 1.33Mt, after recession in 2009 reduced consumption by 18% over 2008. Consumption of zircon in Asia increased by 9.5%py between 2000 and 2010 and offset declines in North America and Europe. Growth in ceramics output, which accounted for 54% of zircon consumption in 2010, particularly in China but also in other emerging economies such as Brazil, India and Iran, was a key driver for increased demand for zircon in the mid-2000s. Consumption of zircon in zirconium chemicals, including zirconia, more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, meanwhile refractory and foundry end-uses exhibited lower rates of growth.
Production of zircon is concentrated in Australia (40% of output in 2010) and South Africa (30%). The remainder is produced in over a dozen other countries. Output of zircon increased by 2.8%py between 2002 and 2010. Major producers, such as Iluka Resources, Richards Bay Minerals, Exxaro Resources and DuPont, extract zircon as a by-product during titanium minerals extraction. Demand for titanium minerals has not increased as fast as that for zircon over the last decade, therefore producers have started to develop and exploit mineral sands deposits with higher zircon contents, such as those in Victoria and South Australia.
Despite lower consumption in 2009, prices for zircon did not fall sharply as major producers reduced output and drew down stocks. In 2010, production could not keep pace with demand, primarily because Chinese imports of zircon grew by over 50% in 2010, to 0.7Mt. Prices started to rise in the second half of the year and had reached record levels in early 2011. Demand for zircon is forecast to increase by 5.4%py through 2015, but capacity might rise by only 2.3%py. Additional supply will therefore continue to be limited and prices may well continue to increase until new projects are commissioned.
World: Supply, demand and price of zircon, 1997-2010
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