Vertical integration, or verticalisation, is making a comeback in the industrial minerals business. This is not a new concept, Henry Ford was busy utilising the benefits of vertical integration for his pioneering automotive business back in the 1920s.
The term describes a style of ownership and control. Vertically integrated companies are united through a hierarchy - in the case of minerals, this is represented as a supply chain from mine to market. Above all, the supply chain shares a common owner.
Usually each member of the supply chain produces a different product or service, and the products combine to satisfy a common goal, supplying high quality products to the end market in the most economically and logistically efficient way.
A typical example might be a refractory mineral miner, supplying a refractory manufacturer, who in turn supplies a steelmaker with refractories, who then supplies a steel consumer with steel,...