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  • Not a Cinderella story: Half a century of Industrial Minerals IM September 2017

    Long dismissed as the Cinderella of the commodities world, industrial minerals were regarded as high bulk, low value for most outside the network which makes up our world. But after 50 years IM is looking forward to a glittering future - and so are those at the top of the industrial minerals tree, interviewed in turn about the changing face of the industry. Read More

  • A rock and a hard place IM September 2017

    Demand for refractory products is evolving, forcing suppliers to upgrade their offers and processes to stay ahead of the game, while Chinese-origin raw materials are appreciating on the back of supply shortages, making productions costlier, Davide Ghilotti, IM Chief Reporter, finds. Read More

  • Global Refractories: Facing the next production revolution IM September 2017

    One of the largest markets for industrial minerals, refractories are essential for producing steel, glass, ceramics, cement and lime and for many other processes requiring high temperatures. But as Richard Flook* explains, despite their crucial role, manufacturers of these products are facing significant challenges from changing global trends. Read More

  • Flame tamers: Brucite, huntite and hydromagnesite IM September 2017

    Magnesium minerals boast several unique properties which make them superlative flame retardants, but as Ian Wilson, Consultant*, explains, despite their wide application many of these minerals are only recovered in a handful of places across the world. Read More

  • Indian refractories sector hopes rising steel tide will lift all boats IM September 2017

    Booming steel production has helped prop up demand for Indian refractories amid lacklustre demand from cement and foundries, but as Sunder Singh, IM Correspondent explains, the country’s relatively healthy market is attracting increased foreign competition. Read More

  • Potash and phosphate: Demanding industries IM July-August 2017

    The need for food is growing in step with a swelling global population and the mineral fertiliser industry is under pressure to ensure that nutrient supply keeps up with consumption, Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, finds. Read More

  • Growing gains: Perlite and vermiculite IM July-August 2017

    As two niche mineral sectors that have largely lacked innovation, Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, considers whether there could be more in store for vermiculite and perlite than tall buildings and tomatoes. Read More

  • What goes up… IM July-August 2017

    As the dust settles following a price war that has quartered the market value of iodine in recent years, IM reports from Chile on the causes of the roller coaster ride in the market and looks to the future of demand for the mineral. Read More

  • Processing: Going green IM July-August 2017

    Although the number of industrial minerals covered by IM is far reaching and the technology required for their production often varies by sector, the mining industry is seeing increasing calls for corporate social responsibility and greener technology, particularly in light of the growing role renewable energy has to play in the everyday lives of consumers. Read More

  • US exiting Paris Treaty not expected to impact minerals sector IM July-August 2017

    In the wake of President Trump’s announcement that the US will be pulling out of the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty, IM looks at the significance of this move and the possible impact this will have on the industrial minerals market. By Mark Rowe Read More

  • Special clays: Gelling new markets IM June 2017

    Hectorite has attracted significant attention in the last few years as a potential source of lithium, while clays like attapulgite and sepiolite have for decades been important sources of speciality material. Ian Wilson, Consultant*, offers a snapshot of the special clays sector. Read More

  • Flash back for frac sand IM June 2017

    Improvements in oil and gas drilling activity in North America have paved the way for recovery in demand for oilfield minerals such as frac sand, barite and bentonite, but as Kasia Patel, IM Correspondent, reports, the rebound has tested suppliers’ ability to respond. Read More

  • A hard sell? Metakaolin in high-performance concrete IM June 2017

    Adding metakaolin to cement can improve the strength, corrosion resistance and appearance of concrete, but as Frank Hart* explains, the construction industry is yet to be fully won over by its performance benefits. Read More

  • Cracking under pressure? Glass markets in Europe IM May 2017

    The global economic downturn and the subsequent lull in construction has taken its toll on the global float glass market. Now however, as Sarah Gibbons and Liz Newmark discover, the industry is looking to a brighter future - despite there still being challenges for producers and the raw material markets which supply them. Read More

  • Ringfenced: Will traditional lithium users be left behind? IM May 2017

    With almost every new and established lithium producer choosing to focus on supplying the lucrative battery market, Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, looks at whether traditional industrial lithium consumers in the glass and ceramics industries risk being left behind. Read More

  • The ins and outs of China’s lithium industry IM May 2017

    Chinese lithium demand is ballooning on the back of steep rises in demand from the electric vehicle and battery sectors, but despite having rich domestic lithium reserves, the country continues to rely heavily on imports and is worried about where future supply will come from, Albert Li, IM Correspondent, writes. Read More

  • Is India’s glass industry broken? IM May 2017

    Low per capita glass usage has marked India out as a major potential growth market for glass minerals, but so far this projected expansion has failed to materialise. Sunder Singh, IM Correspondent, looks at how geographical concentration and pressure from imports are hampering India’s domestic glass industry. Read More

  • Roll up: Borates - an oligopoly with little room for change IM May 2017

    With the downturn in construction, demand for the group of minerals known as borates has been sluggish over the last few years. However, as glass markets start to pick up and producers look to diversify their products to meet growing demand in new regions such as Asia Pacific, this market looks set for a second wind, Siobhan Lismore-Scott, IM Consultant Editor, finds. Read More

  • Progressing global lithium projects IM May 2017

    After a couple of fallow years when there was insufficient investor interest to take projects forward, last year’s surge in lithium prices and projections for battery demand growth has given a boost to new and dormant lithium developments around the world. Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, looks at some of the most advanced operations. Read More

  • Life after steel: Is there more for magnesia? IM April 2017

    The global steel industry may have taken a turn for the better, but refractory magnesia continues to face oversupply. Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, looks at why the decline of magnesia’s largest end market is failing to deter new entrants to the sector. Read More

  • A new era for the salt supply chain IM March 2017

    Salt demand is closely linked to predictable factors such as population growth, but also to erratic phenomena like weather patterns, making the outlook for the industry hard to predict. David McNeill*, Senior Analyst at Roskill Information Services, assesses current trends in the global salt market. Read More

  • Storing up potential IM March 2017

    Falling prices of renewable energy, increased interest in energy storage and demand for versatile off-grid applications spell good news for the expanding vanadium battery market, Davide Ghilotti, Chief Reporter, finds. Read More

  • Solid state batteries: The next evolution in Li-ion technology? IM March 2017

    Lithium-ion batteries have been plugged as the enablers of countless next generation electronic devices, but there remain kinks in the technology that engineers are struggling to iron out. Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, spoke to high-tech materials developer Ilika about how solid state designs may provide some of the answers battery users are looking for. Read More

  • Charging forward IM March 2017

    Two months after the production cogs began to churn out battery cells at Tesla’s ‘Gigafactory’, Myles McCormick, Reporter, investigates the arrival of lithium-ion battery megafactories, the hurdles they face and their significance for raw material demand. Read More

  • TiO2 feedstocks turn a corner IM March 2017

    A rebound in titanium dioxide prices and demand has paved the way for positive momentum in the mineral sands sector. Kasia Patel, North American Editor, and Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, look at current industry trends and planned new projects in the sector. Read More

  • Innovation and conservatism in technical ceramics IM February 2017

    Technical ceramics are opening up new possibilities in everything from spaceships to dentistry, but the closed nature of the industry’s raw materials supply chain may be holding the sector back, Davide Ghilotti, Chief Reporter, finds. Read More

  • Junior mining: Back from the brink? IM February 2017

    Half a decade on from the collapse of the global mining boom, a rally in commodity markets last year caught many investors off guard and has created a weak but welcome tailwind for the stalled exploration industry, Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, finds. Read More

  • Pure genius? How new technology could shake up HPA supply IM February 2017

    High purity alumina is typically produced via an add-on stage to traditional alumina extraction from bauxite, but at least two companies are on the cusp of breaking into the material’s supply chain with revolutionary new processing methods, Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, finds. Read More

  • Graphite – The only way is up IM December 2016-January 2017

    Temperature-resistant, unusually stable and unreactive, graphite is a key ingredient in refractories, lubricants, batteries, flame retardants and pencils. But oversupply has dragged the mineral’s value down to record lows and only controls on Chinese production complemented by a surge in demand from new applications can reverse its fortunes. Read More

  • Breaking down Silica Valley IM December 2016-January 2017

    Spruce Pine in the US state of North Carolina is the self-styled “silica valley” on which the more famous Silicon Valley of California relies for high purity quartz. Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, investigates how the supply concentration of HPQ is causing concern and creating opportunities for other producers. Read More

  • E-scrap: A vicious cycle? IM December 2016-January 2017

    Every year, millions of tonnes of highly polluting electronic waste are sent to landfill, even though a high proportion of this material consists of valuable metals and minerals. Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, looks at how the changing makeup of electronic products poses problems and opportunities for e-scrap recycling. Read More

  • Chinese barite faces a growing market IM December 2016-January 2017

    Chinese barite production and exports enjoyed a heady few years when the US oil boom was at its peak three years ago, but the decline in drilling activity since 2014 has seen a slowdown in demand for the oilfield mineral. However, in November 2016 there are signs of a recovery with US rig counts higher and a likelihood of oil prices increasing to $50-55/bbl. This will lead to increased consumption of barite in 2017, Ian Wilson, Consultant, finds. Read More

  • 2016 Year in Review IM December 2016-January 2017

    A round up of the year's main events in major global industrial minerals markets such as lithium, agriminerals, rare earths and titanium dioxide. Read More

  • China’s rare earths policies struggle to stem supply IM November 2016

    The cancellation of export quotas and taxes on Chinese rare earths export last year spurred the introduction of a raft of new measures designed to control output and boost value. Albert Li, IM Analyst, discusses the progress of these plans. Read More

  • Nerves of titanium IM November 2016

    Although positive demand is beginning to feed through to titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments and its feedstocks, the supply landscape for the pigment will continue to shift as producers attempt to remain competitive and Chinese supply faces more stringent regulation. Read More

  • Australian legislators tighten up on miners IM November 2016

    A landholder ruling in New South Wales threatens new mines, a new mining law in Queensland facilitates opposition to resource projects and tax issues in Western Australia have the potential to affect lithium plays, Rose Pengelly, IM correspondent, writes. Read More

  • No respite for rare earths IM November 2016

    A commodities market rebound in 2016 left the rare earths sector largely untouched, but some companies are still determined to bring new mines online, writes IM Correspondent, Rose Pengelly. Read More

  • Land of the brave? IM November 2016

    Australia hosts many industrial minerals and has a rich and varied mining history, However as Cameron Perks, IM Correspondent, discovers, the country is missing a chance to develop its agricultural sector alongside a wave of new mining claims. Read More

  • Russian fluorite: Future or failure? IM October 2016

    The future of Russia’s fluorite sector could all depend on whether the world’s second largest aluminum producer, Rusal, decides to rejuvenate its largest fluorite facility in the country’s far east. Without such decisive action by the domestic industry’s leader, other smaller projects will struggle to survive, writes Vladislav Vorotnikov, IM Correspondent. Read More

  • Fluorspar: Survival of the fittest IM October 2016

    The fluorspar industry is undergoing a regeneration as low-cost suppliers from South East Asia have capitalised on a race to the bottom and China has emerged as a serious player in the downstream fluorine space. Shruti Salwan, market analyst, discusses the trends in the market and analyses the supply shift and what it means for the fluorspar industry. Read More

  • Kaolin’s opportunity IM October 2016

    Although kaolin has long been associated with the paper industry, new opportunities are presenting themselves in new markets, such as ceramics. Ian Wilson, Consultant, details how each producing country in the world is responding to new calls for demand. Read More

  • Australian agricultural limestone: What’s eating Australia? IM October 2016

    With soil acidification eating at Australia’s multibillion dollar agricultural market, Richard Flook, Consultant, and Cameron Perks, IM Australian Correspondent,* take a look at what is being done to help farmers improve their productivity and the growth required in the Australian agricultural limestone industry. Read More

  • New Zealand agricultural limestone: Fertilising middle earth IM October 2016

    New Zealand may be best known as Tolkien’s “Middle Earth” but it is also a powerhouse in agricultural production. The lush green fields have long relied on agricultural limestone but recently more attention has been focussed on optimising performance. Richard Flook, Consultant, and Cameron Perks, IM Australian Correspondent examine how fine grades of agricultural limestone, either spread or granulated, are becoming increasingly popular. Read More

  • Phosphogypsum: Another Russian rare earths pipe dream? IM September 2016

    A plan to recycle waste from fertiliser plants to produce pure rare earths and gypsum is the latest to come out of Russia’s metallurgical science community, but this project is already facing many of the obstacles that have scuppered previous similar endeavors, Vladislav Vorotnikov, IM Correspondent, finds. Read More

  • Cut and thrust in the global abrasives market IM September 2016

    The global abrasives market is a fairly steady one, but new innovations in application technology are helping to compensate for areas of shrinking demand, Rose Pengelly, IM Correspondent, discovers. Read More

  • Smelting point? An update on major refractories for glass smelters IM September 2016

    Fused cast blocks have dominated the market for glass refractories since the early 20th century. Carlo Ratto takes a look at some of the alternative products which have emerged over the years and assesses the future uptake prospects for these materials. Read More

  • India’s refractories industry: Ready to recover? IM September 2016

    India’s economy and steel sector have been among a select few worldwide to post healthy levels of growth amid stagnant global GDP rates, but Chinese steel dumping and overcapacity have curtailed growth in the country’s refractories industry, Sunder Singh, IM Correspondent, explains. Read More

  • China’s refractories market: Managed decline IM September 2016

    A policy to reduce steel capacity in China has neutralised the impact that rising steel production might have had on refractories demand in the first half of this year, while the tough trading conditions have prompted some companies to exit the market altogether, Albert Li, IM Analyst, finds. Read More

  • World refractories industry: State of play in 2016 IM September 2016

    Jessica Roberts assesses the health of the refractory industry’s key consumers so far in 2016, and outlines longer term trends that look to influence the market this year and beyond. Read More

  • Chinese magnesia and refractories: The new normal IM September 2016

    The Chinese economy is entering a transition from a primarily export-orientated economy to a more consumer-driven economy. At the same time, increasing debt, slower growth and excess production capacity are contributing to what has been labelled as the “new normal” for China. Richard Flook and Ian Wilson examine the effect of this on the Chinese magnesia industry and the Chinese refractory industry. Read More

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