Flotation is a predominantly used technique to separate mineral from ore, based on differences in ability of bubbles to bind with different minerals particle surface in a mixed slurry. Chemicals that are used for processing ores while producing minerals through flotation method are known as mining flotation chemicals, these chemicals largely include collectors, frothers, dispersants, activators, depressants and flocculants. Quality and volume of mining flotation chemicals varies according to type of ore.
A typical flotation system includes three prominent components namely, chemistry components (flotation chemicals), operation components (mineralogy, feed rate, particle size etc.) and equipment components (cell design, agitation, air flow etc.). In order to obtain ideal grade/recovery curve, use of flotation chemicals is very important in separating minerals from ore.
Mineral deposits are deteriorating in terms of volume as well as quality, contrarily demand for products that use mineral as raw material has increased considerably. In order to maintain the balance in supply and demand, mineral processors opted for sustainable solutions that ensure high mineral recovery from ore. This resulted into increased consumption of mining flotation chemicals over the last few years, as flotation chemicals help in obtaining better grade/recovery curve. Moreover, an increasing trend in demand is projected after 2017 for mining flotation chemicals, indirectly supported by demand arising due to large scale urbanization and increase in construction activity.
As the global market is subjected to different economic characteristic and distributed clusters of mineral deposit as well as mineral processing, impact of factors influencing mining flotation chemicals demand is also subjected to the backdrop of regional economic growth, mineral deposits and mineral processing facilities.
The industry is constantly developing new products to match the requirement of processors. A few prominent such research activities revolve around demand for tailored reagents, shift towards glycol-based frothers, shift towards development of environment-friendly chemicals, advancements in flotation chemicals for phosphate & iron ore, etc.
Ore Type Analysis
In terms of type of ores, global mining flotation chemicals is segmented into sulphide ores and non-sulphide ores, which bespeak consumption of mining flotation chemicals for these two types of ore. In 2014, sulphide ores accounted for around 68% of the global mining flotation chemicals market value. Nevertheless, the historical market trend further foregrounds increasing consumption of mining flotation chemicals for processing sulphide ores, compare to non-sulphide ores. Projected CAGR for consumption of mining flotation chemicals in sulphide ores is anticipated to be around 1.0 times higher than the overall market CAGR, whereas in non-sulphide ores it is projected to 0.8 times lower than the overall market CAGR. Mining flotation chemicals consumption in non-sulphide ore is expected to create an incremental opportunity of US$ 758.3 Mn, representing 28.1% of the total incremental opportunity between 2014 and 2020.
Chemical Type Analysis
On the basis of types global mining flotation chemicals is segmented into collectors, frothers, dispersants, activators, depressants, flocculants and other mining flotation chemicals. Among all chemical types, collectors accounted for largest pie in the global mining flotation chemicals market, representing over 25% of the total market revenue in 2014. The segment is expected to surpass around US$ 3.0 Bn by 2020, gaining 170 BPS during the forecast period.
Flocculants stands only after collectors in terms of total market value, representing slightly over 20% share in the global mining flotation chemicals market in 2014. Flocculants demand in mineral processing is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 4.5% during the forecast period, thus the segment is anticipated to gain 110 basis points between 2014 and 2020.
Frothers produce foam/froth and the entire flotation process is dependent on these chemicals projected. This segment is expected to expand at an impressive CAGR of over 5% during the forecast period. Froth enables physical separation between pulp containing waste and floated mineral. Froth produced has to be strong enough to support the weight of minerals. Methyl isobutyl carbonyl or MIBC is the mostly commonly used frother. The segment is expected to register 1.3X growth in terms of value by the end of 2020.
During the flotation process in mineral processing, slimes aggregate on the surface of coarse particles, thereby hampering separation of precious minerals. Dispersants are among mining flotation chemicals used to remove slimes from the coarser particles, thus facilitating the process of separation and recovery of minerals. The dispersants segment of the global mining flotation chemicals market is estimated to witness a steady growth rate in the coming years, expanding from US$ 68 Mn in 2014 to US$ 88 Mn by the end of the forecast period.
Cytec Industries Inc, Kemira Oyj, Huntsman corporation, Clariant, BASF, Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Chevron Philips Chemical Company LLC, Cheminova A/S, Nasaco International LLC and Beijing Hengju Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.