Roskill’s 12th report on Bentonite has been published. If you’re involved with bentonite in any way, this report will help you make the right decisions.
The global market for bentonite and fuller’s earth will increase at 2-4%py to 2020 with healthy growth expected in the major markets of foundry sand and iron ore pelletising. This will be underpinned by 0.3Bnt of forecast growth in the global demand for steel. Production of ferrous castings will grow at 3-5%py as global production of automotives climbs to more than 100M vehicles. Other applications with strong demand include civil engineering in Asia and South America and edible oil refining in Asia. Future demand will continue to focus on natural sodium and sodium-exchanged bentonite with higher swelling capability than calcium bentonite.
Over the last decade, some of the strongest growth came from the drilling mud industry. Rising levels of oil and gas exploration served increasing levels of global energy consumption. In particular, the North American drilling industry grew strongly with the exploration of shale oil and gas reserves. As global oil prices are expected to remain low in 2015 and beyond, however, future exploration for oil and gas will be severely hit. The role of drilling markets for the industry will lessen, at least in the short term.
The USA is the largest producer of both bentonite and fuller’s earth, accounting for almost a third of the 21.2Mt of combined global production in 2014. Other important producers include China, India, Greece, Mexico, Russia and Turkey. Much of the remaining fuller’s earth is produced by Spain, Mexico and Senegal. A limited number of new resources will be developed to 2020 as most new capacity will come from expansions in existing resource areas. New deposits under consideration include those for bentonite in Australia, Canada, Russia and the USA, sepiolite in Namibia and attapulgite in South Africa.