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The global lime market size was valued at USD 40.07 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 40.94 billion in 2022 to USD 49.17 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 2.7% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market had exhibited a decline of 2.0% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Lime is one of the largest chemicals consumed globally. It is a calcium-containing inorganic mineral composed of oxide and hydroxide compounds. Principal raw materials such as 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 strive to ensure their supply is regulated despite the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has led to a strict lockdown on mining and transportation of minerals. In countries such as China, India, and Brazil, the product’s supply chain was critically affected.
The irregular mining and transportation activities of the key raw material, limestone, led to an increase in the product's prices. This has further affected the already narrow margins of the manufacturers. Furthermore, the shutdown of end-use industries is likely to affect the overall demand for lime in the near future.
Manufacturers operating in the market carry out repair work on the kilns during the shutdown period. They further focus on the rising 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 such as citric acid, magnesia, and 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, a hydrated product is essential for altering 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 to gain novel pathways in the near future that will favor the global lime market growth.
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 using 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 surged significantly in past years due to the increasing efforts of governments in countries such as China, India, South Africa, and Brazil to build a strong infrastructure and residences for the rising population in these countries. According to the World Steel Association, steel production raised from 1.61 billion metric tons in 2016 to 1.87 billion metric tons in 2019, with a CAGR of 5.2% during 2016-2019. Therefore, the surging production of steel is the key driving factor for 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 will be living in water-stressed areas. Contaminated water is a major transmission of 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 U.S. 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 in 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
Limestone is primarily used to manufacture lime, where it is heated to form calcium oxide and carbon dioxide from calcium carbonate. The CO2 produced in the process is a greenhouse gas leading to numerous calamities and global warming that results in drastic consequences. Moreover, this production process is highly energy-intensive, which increases the overall carbon footprint of the industry.
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 Forecast Period
Based on type, the market is segmented into quick and hydrated lime.
Quick lime accounted for dominant lime market share due to the heavy demand from steel manufacturing. The use of such products in the manufacturing process of metals assists the separation of impurities in the form of slag. This improves the performance of metal and decreases steel brittleness.
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 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 and make alumina and magnesia in aluminum and magnesium manufacture. Calcium hydroxide is extremely important for uranium extraction 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.
Lime is used in the agricultural industry to improvise the soil pH to support high crop yield. It further improves the physical structure of soil by reducing the surface crusting, diminishing erosion, and enhancing water withholding capacity. Usage of calcium hydroxide improves water percolation and root penetration, supporting the crops to negate environmental and climatic changes, including floods and drought. 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 tons 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 applications. 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 applications during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific Lime Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific stood at USD 26.27 billion in 2021 and is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period. This dominance of the region is attributed to China, where the concentration of industries is very high. It is the leading country producing many metal products such as steel, aluminum, and gold. 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 of North America, with Russia leading the production with 11 million tons, in 2019, as per the European Industry Association. The region's growth is associated with the expansion of steel manufacturing and the surging 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 market growth.
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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 global lime market research report provides detailed market analysis and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, types, and applications. Also, it offers insights into key market trends and highlights vital 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 40.07 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 49.17 billion by 2029.
In 2021, the market value stood at USD 40.07 billion.
Registering a significant CAGR of 2.7%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period (2022-2029).
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 2021.
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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