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The global steel slag market size was valued at USD 25.66 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 26.83 billion in 2023 to USD 38.28 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period.
Steel slag is a byproduct of steel production, formed when impurities in the raw materials react with oxidants and fluxes in the steelmaking process. It consists of various minerals and can be used as a construction material due to its high hardness, durability, and ability to improve concrete properties.
The rising steel production has led to an increase in the supply of slag which has aided the market growth. It is used in the manufacturing of cement which further offers high strength and a low heating speed with water. It has strong chemical resilience. These characteristics make it an optimal option for the cement and construction industries. However, the growth of the market has been hampered due to the presence of harmful ingredients in slag. Toxic additives such as nickel, chromium, strontium, and cadmium are often found in slag. These compounds can be hazardous to the environment as well as human health.
Disruptions in Supply Chain of Steel Dwindled Businesses amid COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019, steel producers have faced a shortage of supply, at least for the first half of 2020, due to trade restrictions in key industrial countries such as India and China. As a result, companies' manufacturing capacities were hampered, and production and demand for the product decreased.
Moreover, it is widely used in the construction industry. This industry was severely impacted during the pandemic due to shortage of labor and raw material, supply chain disruptions, and strict government regulation. This decreased the consumption of products in this industry even further. Many steel companies either shut down their production plants or decreased their production capacity, which is attributed to supply chain disruption and closure of machinery.
As the supply chain is returned to normal after the lifting of restrictions, the players operating in the market have sought opportunities to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on their annual performance. Governments of various countries are enacting supportive regulations and attempts to re-establish economies, resulting in rising demand for infrastructure development. In construction projects, road construction, railroads, and concrete, it can replace natural aggregate at a lower cost and with greater sustainability.
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Water Treatment and Land Reclamation Applications to Boost Market Growth Potential
The market presents potential opportunities for land reclamation and water treatment. Steel slag possesses distinctive properties that make it suitable for such applications. Due to its excellent adsorption capabilities in water treatment, it is useful for cleaning contaminated water. Due to their large surface area and porous nature, elements, such as phosphate, silica, magnesium, iron, aluminum, and calcium, can be absorbed from sewage. As a result, it holds potential opportunities in industrial effluent and wastewater treatment. The product can be used as filter media in artificial wetlands. Microorganisms use slag as a substrate to decompose organic material and eliminate contaminants through biological and chemical processes.
The utilization of metal slag as a fill material can help land reclamation operations in several ways. The alkaline qualities and fine particles of the soil help to improve soil quality, increasing fertility and promoting plantation. In steep or uneven terrains, it can also aid in stabilizing and preventing erosion.
In general, the market is driven by the need for sustainable and affordable solutions, which creates potential in the fields of water treatment and land reclamation. Industries and governments can address environmental issues, boost resource efficiency, and contribute to sustainable development by making use of the special qualities of slag such as its capacity for adsorption and soil enhancement properties.
Increasing Demand for the Product in Road Construction to Drive Market Growth
Road construction is a paramount application in the market as it is extensively used in the construction industry to build highways and roads due to its multiple beneficial properties. Its high load-bearing capacity in road construction is one of its main properties.
Moreover, a sustainable approach to road construction also includes steel slag. Natural resources are preserved by reducing the demand for virgin materials by employing slag as an alternative to natural aggregates. Steel slag, a waste by-product steel industry, can be managed and recycled sustainably by being used in road construction. It benefits the environment due to its lower environmental footprint. When compared to natural aggregates, it contains less carbon, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The natural quality of the product, such as resistance to weathering and high alkalinity, helps curb the release of dangerous compounds into the environment.
Overall, the market is largely driven by the construction of roads. The product is increasingly used in road infrastructure projects due to its superior load-bearing capability, enhanced asphalt characteristics, decreased environmental imprints, sustainability benefits, and cost-saving advantages. The market is anticipated to expand rapidly as the demand for effective and sustainable road networks grows.
Management and Disposal of Steel Slag to Obstruct Market Growth
Environmental constraints are frequently the main barriers in the market. Steel slag, as a by-product of the steel-making process, comprises a number of chemical compounds that, if not managed properly, can have a negative impact on the environment. As a result, strict regulations have been implemented by government and regulatory agencies to ensure the safe handling, treatment, and disposal of steel slag.
The requirement for appropriate disposal techniques is one of the major restraints. Road construction, cement & concrete production, and other applications frequently employ the product as aggregate. Depending on the region or country, the usage of slag as a construction material may be prohibited due to several regulations. For instance, to reduce the possibility of toxins escaping into the environment, some regions have implemented that the metal slag should undergo special treatment procedures before it is utilized in construction projects. The expenses and difficulty of using it in construction applications may increase as a result of these rules.
Blast Furnace Slag Segment to Capture Dominant Share due to Increasing Cement Application
Based on type, the market is segmented into blast furnace slag and steelmaking slag.
The blast furnace slag segment held the dominant market share due to rapidly growing cement-producing companies coupled with growing technological innovation in the manufacturing process of cement to make it more reliable. It has been utilized in the form of hyttsten and for building roads, pavements, drainage systems, and canals under construction sites for several decades across the globe. The material’s properties are optimally used to make the structural layer retain the effective thickness by holding the bearing capacity. The highway's base layer is made from hyttsten instead of crushed rock to safeguard natural resources.
The steelmaking slag segment is expected to show market growth due to rising government initiatives for environmental protection. This material is highly used in civil engineering and ground excavation for sand pile compaction. Steelmaking slag has a large bearing capacity and hydraulic property, which is used as a base course material to make tensile strength, good resistance, effective hardness, strong bond density of particles, and large weight per unit volume.
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Cement & Concrete Segment to Hold Major Share with Rising Demand from the Building Material Industry
Based on application, the market is segmented into construction, cement & concrete, fertilizers, and others.
The cement & concrete segment holds the largest share and will grow significantly during the forecast period. The increasing demand for these products from the building material industry owing to their properties such as high tensile strength, water resistance, hardness, and chemical compatibility with a range of materials is resulting in segment growth.
The construction segment is the fastest-growing application segment in the market. The rising use of steel slag in the construction industry due to its soil stabilization and in mortar for masonry will augment the segment growth.
It has wider use in the fertilizer segment that helps to increase the pH and maintain soil nutrients of calcium silicate, which leads to the increase in the absorption power by plants, supporting the growth and yield quality of the crops. The others segment includes metallurgy, hydraulic property, and final deposits. Hence, increasing their demand from internal use for metallurgical purposes will drive the segment growth.
Asia Pacific Steel Slag Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific is slated to hold dominant steel slag market share through 2030. In 2022, the regional market was valued at USD 17.49 billion in 2022, led by the increased demand from the building material industry from China, Japan, and India. These countries have a significant untapped economic growth potential likely to be realized during the forecast period as they progress in their economic expansion, growing urbanization, and construction activities to support the product demand in the region.
In North America, the U.S. and Canada are the leading contributors. The rapid expansion of the cement & concrete industry has fueled the steel slag market growth in this region. In the U.S., the construction sector contributes to 4% of the GDP, and the demand for construction products is increasing from both the residential and commercial sectors. Thus, it creates a domestic boost from the major end-use industries to drive the market in the region.
In Europe, the high demand for the product is associated with the rapid growth in infrastructure and industrial developments. The largely produced slag is utilized in road construction projects. Likewise, the electric arc furnace slag has high stability, durability, and frictional properties, making it suitable for ballast for asphalt development in the entire value chain.
Latin America is one of the swiftly advancing regions in terms of urbanization and technological advancement. Significant steel manufacturers such as Bekaert and ArcelorMittal are expected to promote product growth in the region.
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The Middle East & Africa is expected to grow significantly by the end of the forecast period. The growing demand for cement and concrete owing to the development of mega-projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE has witnessed rapid growth over the past few years. Thus, all these factors are expected to boost this trend during the forecast period.
Players Focus on Collaborations and Capacity Expansions to Stay Ahead in the Competition
ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel Corporation, Baosteel Group Corporation, and JFE Steel Corporation are some of the prominent players in the market. Companies are emphasizing product innovation, acquisition, and collaboration. For instance, in March 2022, ArcelorMittal acquired the Scottish recycling business John Lawrie Metals Ltd., as part of the company’s strategy of increasing the usage of scrap steel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from steelmaking.
An Infographic Representation of Steel Slag Market
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The research report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, sources, applications, and products. Also, the report offers insights into market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
CAGR of 5.2% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Billion) and Volume (Kiloton)
By Type, Application, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 25.66 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 38.28 billion by 2030.
In 2022, the market value stood at USD 25.66 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 5.2%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2023-2030).
The cement & concrete segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.
The increasing demand for building materials for construction is a key factor driving the market growth.
ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel Corporation, Baosteel Group Corporation, and JFE Steel Corporation Industries are a few of the leading players in the global market.
Asia Pacific dominated the global market in terms of share in 2022.
The continuous growth in the construction industry is expected to surge the product demand.
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