Firstly, can you outline details of your mica
operation and any recent developments?
As a mineral miner, processer and supplier, Hebei Chida
Manufacturer & Trade Co. Ltd is located in downtown
Shijiazhuang city, 30km from the main muscovite mine of the
area. We export more than 10,000 tonnes of different mica
grades every year.
Following trends in the market, the company did a large
quantity test and installed different kinds of curing machines
to produce high value powder product used in filler markets. It
solved the iron content problem and larger particles, which are
the main technical problems in filler usage.
|The Birds Nest Stadium of the 2008 Beijing
Olympics, the great symbol of the Chinese construction
boom driving mica consumption last year. The mica
industry is facing a host of new challenges now. Courtesy
Kwok W Wan
Where are the major mining regions of Chinese mica and what is
the present production situation?
Most of the muscovite mine is concentrated in Shjiazhuang,
Hebei province of China. The main mine is named Wenshan,
Lubaishan in Lingshou county, and other mines are mainly in
In 2008, because of the Beijing Olympic Games, most of the
mine production was stopped and was not recovered until the end
According to the official news, there are about 4m. tonnes
of mica in the Wenshan mine and 1.1m. tonnes in Lubaishan. As
for the Xingtang mine there is no formal and exact geological
What impact did the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 have
on micas markets?
During April to July 2008, because of the concern over the
short supply of mica production during the Beijing Olympic
Games period, most of our Japanese customers increased their
normal purchasing quantity and bought more goods for stock.
This caused the price to be increased sharply. The
free-on-board (FOB) export price was increased about 150% from
$120/tonne to $300/tonne.
After the Beijing Olympic Games, the market price for mica
decreased gradually although raw material supply was not
changed to be good, the buyers decreased their order.
The market price for mica now has decreased to an FOB price
of $260/tonne. It is not expected, however, to fall lower than
$200/tonne again due to the higher and higher costs to exploit
the mines and production costs in China.
What do you see as the future direction for mica
production in China?
Japanese mainly rely on mica from China and most use it to
make building material. Owing to the unstable situation in 2008
and the more and more expensive price of mica, most Japanese
customers are trying to find a way to cut down on the quantity
of mica used, the cost of building material, and to face the
dead-alive market in 2009.
Considering the limited resources of mica, all the market
factors contribute to push mica towards an added value
direction. Micas main use is as a filler in cosmetics, as
a resin, in plastics and pigments. For example, used as a
filler in plastic components of notebook and laptop computers
as its is characteristically light weight and