Global Niobium Market Segmented by Application, Occurrence, End-User Industry and Geography Trends and Forecasts (2016-2021)
The global niobium market was valued at 90,149.6 metric tons in 2015, and is likely to reach XX metric tons by 2021, at an estimated CAGR of 6.89%, during the forecast period 2016-2021. The forecast from IMF is that the growth rate of the global economy is going to be 3.8% for the year 2015. Although, the Chinese economy has shown signs of slowdown, the combined demand, along with that of Europe and US, is substantial for niobium. Moreover, further demand for niobium is expected to come from emerging countries.
Increasing demand for steel in emerging nations is expected to drive the niobium market. Niobium is primarily used in alloys, with special steel being the largest segment (used in large constructions and gas pipelines). Brazil produces most of the worlds total niobium (almost 90%), followed by Canada and Australia. CBMM, the biggest player in the market, increased the output capacity to150, 000 tons per annum (TPA) in 2015. The Anglo American group is another producer of this precious metal.
Niobium metal is found in volcanic rocks in multiple places around the world. It is obtained from pyrochlore and tantalite mineral ores, and sometimes as an associated metal from mining of other metals.
Worldwide, niobium is used in the form of ferroniobium, mostly as an alloying element in steels and in super alloys. Large amounts of niobium in the form of high-purity ferroniobium and nickel niobium are used in nickel-, cobalt-, and iron-base super alloys for applications such as rocket subassemblies, jet engine components, and heat-resistant and combustion equipment.
Currently, the niobium industry is consolidated both in terms of mineral source and the number of industry players. Almost all of the global niobium supply is derived from the mineral pyrochlore with the main producers being CBMM, CatalÃ£o (Anglo American) and others.
The non-pyrochlore producers are spread across different geographies and are fairly small in size; their operations are basic and uneven. The production of niobium from non-pyrochlore sources is mostly obtained as a byproduct of tantalum operations.
The biggest demand for niobium comes from China, North America and Europe. China is home to the worlds fastest-growing market for niobium, accounting for 25% of total consumption in 2010. This is reflected in the size of its steel industry and the rapid rate of expansion in output in the recent years.
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