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The global lime market size was USD 41.93 billion in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with the product witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our detailed analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 0.9% in 2020 as compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 42.64 billion in 2021 to USD 51.04 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 2.6% during the 2021-2028 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
Lime is one of the largest chemicals consumed globally. It is a calcium-containing inorganic mineral composed of oxide and hydroxide compounds. The principal raw materials, limestone, and chalk are subjected to temperatures above 800⁰C in the calcination process, which breaks the carbonate compound into highly caustic calcium oxide or quicklime and releases carbon dioxide. The product is employed in large quantities as building and engineering resources, chemical feedstock, and sugar crystals refinement.
According to the National Lime Association, the primary application of the product is in steel manufacturing. It serves as a flux promoter and brings about the separation of impurities such as silica and phosphorus by slag formation. It is also added to the basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces.
The utilization of the product to treat wastewater and flue gases is gaining traction as it can capture impurities such as lead and SOx gases. With pollution control regulations getting stringent in countries such as the U.S., China, and India, the application of these products is expected to gain tremendous scope during the forecast period.
Disruption in Mining of Limestone amid COVID-19 to Restrain Growth
Lime is a critical chemical for key end-use industrial applications such as metallurgy, construction, chemicals, and environmental. Therefore, many countries are striving to ensure their supply is regulated despite the COVID-19 Impact on the industry. However, the pandemic has led to a strict lockdown on mining and transportation of minerals, especially in countries such as China, India, and Brazil, the supply chain of the product was critically affected.
The irregular mining and transportation activities of the key raw material, limestone, led to an increase in the prices of the product. This has further affected the already narrow margins of the manufacturers. Furthermore, the shutdown of end-use industries is likely to affect the overall product demand in the near future.
Manufacturers operating in the market are carrying out repair work of the kilns during the shutdown period. They are further focusing on the growing demand for environmental protection applications during the pandemic. With governments lifting the restrictions on activities such as construction and metal products manufacturing in the last quarter of 2020, the industry is expected to regain its old demand in the next couple of years.
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Increasing Demand from Chemical and Manufacturing Industries to Propel Growth
Lime has proved to be a versatile chemical with its application expanding in a myriad of industrial applications. While its primary application is in the metallurgy industry, it is experiencing high demand from the chemical and manufacturing industries. The product is employed in the chemical industry for manufacturing several vital chemicals such as sodium alkali, propylene glycol, calcium carbide, and cyanamide. It plays a significant role in manufacturing products like citric acid, magnesia, calcium magnesium acetate. Moreover, it is used to manufacture citrates, stearates, caseinates, phenolates, nitrates, and glycerin.
In manufacturing industries, the product has heavy demand from sugar, refractory, and paper manufacturers. In sugar refining, hydrated product is essential for the alteration of the pH of the sugarcane juice. The calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2)reacts with the impurities present in the juice, leading to the formation of insoluble organic compounds that can be easily separated. In refractory production, about 3% product solution is added during the fusion or sintering process to stabilize zirconium oxide production. On the other hand, in paper production, the product is used for controlling the whiteness of the paper by removing the impurities from the raw pulp.
Such a versatile application of calcium hydroxide in numerous industries shall be the key reason for product manufacturers gaining novel pathways in the near future that will favor the global market.
Expansion of Steel Industry to Fuel Market Growth
Lime is primarily used in the production of steel. According to Calcinor, the steel industry is inconceivable without the use of this metal. The product is utilized in electric arc furnaces, AOD converters, and refining ladles. Amongst the various applications of the product in the steel industry, the following three are the key reasons behind the significant importance given to it in the industry:
The demand for steel products has grown considerably in the past few years due to the increasing focus of governments in China, India, Brazil, and South Africa to build a robust infrastructure and dwellings for the growing population in these countries. According to the World Steel Association, steel production has expanded from 1,606.3 million metric tons in 2016 to 1,869.9 million metric tons in 2019, growing at a CAGR of 5.2% between 2016 and 2019. Therefore, the surging production of steel is the key driving factor for global market growth.
Stringent Legal Framework for Environment Protection to Aid Market Growth
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2025, half of the world’s population is projected to be living in water-stressed areas. Contaminated water is a major transmission of diseases such as diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that contaminated drinking water causes over 470,000 deaths each year. Therefore, to reduce the impact of polluted water, governments, and organizations such as the UN and US EPA, have prescribed a legal framework concerning the quality standards for drinking water. Furthermore, industries are compelled to check their waste outlets to reduce their impact on the environment.
The hydrated product can change the acidity of industrial and mining wastewater and remove toxins such as phosphorus and nitrogen. Therefore, its usage of water treatment has gained tremendous traction. Similarly, quicklime is utilized to treat chimney gas from industries, power plants, and waste incinerators. It absorbs and neutralizes SOx emissions and thus, prevents the occurrence of acid rains. Due to these factors, the product demand is projected to be driven by stringent environmental conservation obligations.
High Carbon Footprint of Product to Impede Growth
It is primarily manufactured from limestone, wherein it is heated to break from calcium carbonate to calcium oxide and carbon dioxide. The CO2 generated during the production process is one of the greenhouse gases that has led to several calamities and global warming while leading to drastic consequences. Furthermore, production is a highly energy-intensive process and adds to the industry's overall carbon footprint.
Mild exposure to carbon dioxide has effects such as nausea, headache, and drowsiness. Moreover, heavy exposure can lead to breathing irregularity, confusion, elevated blood pressure, increased arrhythmia, and even death due to suffocation. Such effects on human and environmental health have been a key reason for consumers seeking alternative calcium hydroxide solutions.
Quick Lime Segment to Remain Dominant Over the Forecast Period
Based on type, the market is segmented into quick and hydrated lime.
Quick lime is the dominant segment in the global market due to the heavy demand for steel manufacturing. The addition of this type of product in the metal manufacturing process supports the separation of impurities by forming slag, which reduces the brittleness in steel and improves performance.
Hydrated ones are primarily employed in the flue gas treatment or desulphurization process across several coal fire plants, glass & cement industries, and waste incinerators. It filters or catalyzes the particles emitted after combustion, including HCl, SOx, and NOx emissions. It is also utilized as a flocculant in water and sewage treatment, enabled by its low cost and extremely low toxicity. This is likely to favor the growth rate of the segment during the forecast period.
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Mining & Metallurgy Segment to Hold Largest Lime Market Share owing to Rising Steel Industry
Based on application, the market is segmented into agriculture, building material, mining & metallurgy, water treatment, and others.
According to the European Lime Association, the steel industry is the largest consumer of calcium hydroxide and currently utilizes more than 35% of the product produced worldwide. It is used to beneficiate copper ore, make alumina and magnesia for use in aluminum and magnesium manufacture. Calcium hydroxide is extremely important for the extraction of uranium and recovery of gold and silver from its ores by reducing impurities in the slag. Moreover, it is also utilized to increase the soil's stability over the mines to reduce the impact of vibrations, strengthening the mining & metallurgy segment.
It is added in agricultural applications to improve the pH of the soil to promote high crop yield. It further improves soil's physical structure by decreasing the surface crusting, improving water withholding capacity, and diminishing erosion. Treatment with calcium hydroxide helps the crops better negate climatic and environmental changes such as drought and floods by improving root penetration and water percolation. It also improves the pesticide effectiveness and nutrient availability for the crops. A report by the University of California recommends adding calcium hydroxide in a ratio of 1 – 2.3 ton per acre to improve the presence of calcium and regulate the pH of agricultural soil. Owing to all these factors, the segment's growth is projected to be noteworthy during the forecast period.
In the construction industry, the product is used in mortar and plaster owing to its superior plasticity, workability, and adhesion properties. The adoption of calcium hydroxide in masonry helps in the load-bearing properties of walls. Hence, the rising construction industry will drive the use of the product for building material application. In addition to this, the product is utilized in the treatment of industrial and mining wastewater. With the pollution control regulations getting stringent in countries such as the U.S., China, and India, the need for the product is expected to grow for water treatment application during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific Lime Market Size, 2020 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific stood at USD 27.34 billion in 2020 and is expected to dominate the global market during the forecast period. The region's dominance can be attributed to China, wherein the concentration of end-user industries is very high. It is the leading country producing many metal products such as steel, aluminum, and gold products. Furthermore, the focus of India and other Southeast Asian countries on infrastructure development in the region is going to be a vital factor behind the exponential growth of the market in the region.
The market in North America is projected to expand in the next few years. The newly elected president, Mr. Joe Biden, promises infrastructural development as one of the focus areas in their development strategy. According to the Mineral Commodity studies by the U.S. government, in 2019, around 18 million tons of product was produced in the U.S., with around 28 companies operating in North America.
The production volume in Europe is approximately double compared to North America, with Russia leading the production with 11 million tons, in 2019, as per the European Industry Association. The primary reason behind the region's growth is the expansion of steel manufacturing to support the rejuvenating automotive industry. Furthermore, the paper and plastic industries in the region have expanded their demand to treat wastewater and flue gases. This presents an excellent growth opportunity for the market players.
The utilization of calcium hydroxide is projected to grow in the Middle East & Africa due to its petrochemical industry usage. It is used in the production of many organic compounds such as stearates and phenolates. Therefore, the market has obtained immense traction in the region. Also, high demand from the mining industry in Africa has been the key driver for lime market growth.
The expanding steel and construction sector in Latin America shall be the critical factor behind the growth of the market in the region.
Prominent Companies Focus on Acquisition and Expansion Strategies to Maintain their Market Position
Acquisition and expansion are important competitive landscape strategies used by market-leading companies to maintain their positions. Mississippi Lime Company is one of the most prominent companies operating in the market. The company supplies high-calcium compounds and technical solutions for chemical manufacturing, construction, and other end-use industries. The company has over nine manufacturing sites, six dedicated distribution sites, and five MLDs trucking sites. To meet the customer’s demand for novel high-quality hydrated lime, it has expanded its production capacity at its Weirton, West Virginia, and Verona, Kentucky sites in 2018.
An Infographic Representation of Lime Market
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The market research report provides detailed market analysis and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, types, and applications. Also, it offers insights into market growth trends and highlights vital lime industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the scope of the report encompasses various factors contributing to the market growth over recent years.
Volume (Million Tons); Value (USD Billion)
Type; Application; and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 41.93 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 51.04 billion by 2028.
In 2020, the market value stood at USD 41.93 billion.
Registering a significant CAGR of 2.6%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2021-2028).
The mining & metallurgy application is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.
The expansion of the steel industry is set to be the key factor in driving the market.
Carmeuse, Lhoist Group, and Graymont are the leading players in this market.
China held the highest share in the global market in 2020.
The increasing regulations for environmental protection and the growing demand for chemicals such as calcium carbide and cyanamide are likely to drive the adoption of the product in the forthcoming years.
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