Natural zeolites are crystalline, microporous aluminosilicates that adsorb compounds such as metal ions and water through exchange of cations. This property enables the use of zeolites in applications such as human & animal healthcare, water treatment, gas filtration, and agriculture. There are over 40 different types of zeolites, among which the most popular are chabazite, clinoptilolite, erionite, mordenite, and phillipsite. There exists minimal competition between natural and synthetic zeolites. Different product specifications and cost has rendered the large scale use of natural zeolites unfeasible.
China, South Korea, New Zealand, and the U.S. were among the largest producers of natural zeolites in 2017. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the worldwide production of natural zeolite was pegged at 1.1 million metric tons in 2017. China held a market share of around 68% in the global natural zeolite production in 2017. The largest application segment for natural zeolites is construction, where it is predominantly used as a cement additive. The addition of zeolite in cement helps to produce a slower-hardening and stronger product. Other important applications of natural zeolite include, animal feed additive and nutrient release agent in soil conditioners.
China, India, and the U.S. are projected to be the major natural zeolite consuming countries over the forecast period, owing to growing construction industry in these countries. As of 2017, these countries are the three largest construction markets in the world. According to India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) —part of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India—the Indian construction industry is expected to witness significant growth and reach US$ 5 billion by 2020. Therefore, growing construction industry is expected to propel growth of the natural zeolite market in India.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, sales of natural zeolites in the U.S. increased 11% in 2017 compared to 2016. This was owing to increasing demand for natural zeolites from animal feed and water purification applications.
Key Market Players
Major players operating in the global natural zeolites market include, ZEO Inc., Zeocat Soluciones Ecológicas S.L.U., St. Cloud Mining, Teague Mineral Products, Taza Su Limited, KMI Zeolite, ZEOCEM A.S., Minera Formas, and Bear River Zeolite.
On the basis of product type, the global natural zeolites market is segmented into:
- Water Treatment
- Gas Filtration
- Animal Nutrition
On the basis of region, the global natural zeolites market is segmented into:
- North America
- Latin America
- Rest of South America
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- South Korea
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Middle East & Africa
- In 2018, United States Antimony Corp built a new warehouse for the zeolites division in order to optimize the packaging and shipping zeolite to the US customers.
- In August 2018, Blue Pacific Minerals, which is the only natural zeolite manufacturer in New Zealand completed its zeolites processing plant construction which has a total capacity of 100 Kilo Tons.
- In Sept 2017, BASF invested in the third specialty zeolite plant at Ludwigshafen, Germany, doubling their production capacity for specialty zeolites. BASF’s specialty zeolites are derived from natural aluminosilicates and are primarily used for manufacturing high-end emissions catalyst.
- In June 2016, Researchers at Strasbourg University, Belgium discovered a new manufacturing process for phosphorus by using zeolite as which then can be used for manufacturing LED lamps.