GCC resources, production and markets of Asia

By IM Staff
Published: Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The biggest end uses for ground calcium carbonate are the paper, plastics, paints and sealants industries, with Asia representing one of the sector’s largest markets. Ian Wilson* looks at overall GCC production in Asia and assesses the industry by country and market share.

By Ian Wilson

Global production capacity of ground calcium carbonate (GCC) in 2013 was estimated at 85.7m tonnes, with Asia accounting for 39% of output, Europe 29%, North America 26% and other regions the remaining 6%.    

Production in Asia was 33.4m tonnes in 2013, with 95% processed from marble deposits and 5% coming from high brightness limestone. Around 70% of Asia’s total, or 23.3m tonnes, came from China, while the remaining 30%, or 10.1m tonnes, was contributed jointly by India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.    

A breakdown of the sources of the 33.4m tonnes GCC produced in Asia in 2013 is shown in Table 1.

In terms of consumption, the market split in Asia is 46% in the paper industry; 41% in plastics, sealants and rubber; 9% in paints, while a handful of other uses make up the last 4%. 

Table 1: Asian GCC production by country in 2013

Country

Production ('000 tpy)

% Production

China

23,300

70

India

750

2

Indonesia

1,170

3

Japan

2,400

7

Malaysia

770

2

South Korea

2,200

7

Taiwan

1,210

4

Thailand

1,200

4

Vietnam

400

1

Total

33,400

100

Source: Ian Wilson

  Table 2: Location and resources of some major marble deposits in Asia

Country

Location

Resources (millions of tonnes)

China

Guichi, Anhui Province

>50

 

Jin country, Anhui Province

56

 

Nanyang, Anhui Province

>50

 

Hezhou, Guangxi Province

100

 

Panshi, Jilin Province

138

 

Baoxing, Sichuan Province

1,000

 

Changxing, Zhejiang Province

50

 

Fuyang, Zhejiang Province

>50

Malaysia

Pulai, Ipoh, Perak State

>100

North Korea

Kimchaek, North Hamgyong Province

>50

Taiwan

Ho Ping

>100

Thailand

Lopburi

>50

Vietnam

Mongson, Yenbai Province

75

 Source: Ian Wilson

Calcium carbonate resources

The main type of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) used for GCC production is marble formed through re-crystallisation by contact and regional metamorphism of limestone. The second main type is sedimentary calcium carbonate, with limestone and chalk and other sources of minor importance.

Accounting for 95% of source material, marble is the preferred source of GCC in Asia because it has a higher brightness than chalk and most limestone. By comparison, in Europe, 64% of GCC is produced from marble, 20% from limestone (both high and medium brightness) and 16% from chalk.

Marble deposits are distributed throughout Asia, with some major deposits shown in Table 2.  There are also significant marble resources in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Philippines, but any GCC production from these is not covered in this article.    

The distribution of marble in China is widespread, as the map of the main deposits in Anhui, Guangxi, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hunan, Jilin, Liaoning, Sichuan and Zhejiang provinces shows (Figure 1).

Hezhou in Guangxi is now an important area for the supply of marble lump for GCC plants in China. One of the main operations is Ren-He Co., owned by Luo Yiao Chung. Ren-He controls deposits of high quality marble near Hezhou. The whole area produces about 2.5m tonnes marble for shipment to major customers in Shandong and to Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) in Hainan Island, off the coast of southeast China, with Ren-He supplying 800,000 tpa. 

A view of the marble deposits near Hezhou is shown in Figure 2. The marble lumps are delivered by truck from the mines to Ren-He’s plant, where the material is crushed. After crushing, the lumps are washed and conveyed into a container, which is tilted so the water drains out. The containers are then taken to an area where they are loaded onto barges and delivered direct to APP in Hainan.

New marble deposits continue to be identified in Asia. In North Korea, the geology is similar to northeast China, with both magnesite and marble deposits. In North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, there are marble deposits near the town and port of Kimchaek (Figure 3), the quality of which will be suitable for GCC production. A view of the Kimchaek quarry and its dimension stone plant is shown in Figure 4.

In India, there are a number of calcitic-marbles that are suitable for paper and other markets. However, many marble deposits are dolomitic, which renders them unsuitable for paper as they are more abrasive. Some paper mills in India import marble chippings from Ipoh in Malaysia and a sedimentary limestone from El Minya, 200km south of Cairo in Egypt, consisting of nummulites ginzehensis (foraminifera), which has high brightness (>95.0 ISO) and very low abrasion.     

Marble lump and chippings of quality suitable for GCC in paper are transported within Asia. From Ipoh, which is around 200km north of Kuala Lumpar in western Malaysia, deliveries are sent to Japan, India, Indonesia, Australia and Taiwan. High brightness marble chippings from Vietnam are exported to Japan and other countries, including some to China.    

The location, colour, chemistry and brightness/yellowness of marble in some countries in Asia are detailed in Table 3.     

The properties of marble suitable for a range of GCC products are outlined in Table 4

gcc1  

Figure 1: Major marble deposits for GCC in China.


GCC2  

Figure 2: View of marble mountain range near Hezhou, Guangxi.


GCC3  

Figure 3: Marble deposits near Kimchaek, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea.


GCC4  

Figure 4. Kimchaek Quarry and dimension stone factory.


Table 3: Location, colour, chemistry and brightness of marble (processed between 85-95 wt.% <2 microns)

Country

Location

Colour of marble

% CaO

% MgO

% Fe2O3

% AIR

ppm Mn

ISO brightness/yellowness

China

Qing Yang, Anhui Province

Whitish

55.4

0.58

0.02

0.2

8

95.0/1.3

Jin County, Anhui Province

Whitish

54.7

0.35

0.01

0.1

1

94.6/1.3

Bei Gong, Anhui Province

Whitish

55.5

0.38

0.01

0.1

13

95.6/0.4

Bei Gong, Anhui Province

Greyish

55.5

0,70

0.04

0.4

35

93.8/1.3

Nanyang, Anhui Province

Whitish

55.6

0.60

0.02

0.2

20

94.5/1.2

Guiping, Guangxi Province

Whitish

55.1

0.45

0.01

0.2

21

85.2/1.1

Hezhou, Guangxi Province

Whitish 

55.3

0.30

0.01

0.1

10

95.1/1.0

Huazhou, Guangdong Province

White-grey

55.9

0.45

0.02

0.3

10

94.8/1.4

Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province

Greyish

55.7

0.13

0.01

0.

26

92.6/1.8

Panshi, Jilin Province

Whitish

54.7

0.64

0.03

0.4

7

95.1/1.1

Gushan, Liaoning Province

Whitish

55.6

0.26

0.05

0.4

47

95.0/1.0

Haicheng, Liaoning Province

Whitish

54.2

0.20

0.08

0.9

14

95.3/1.5

Xiamatang, Liaoning Province

Whitish

55.1

0.24

0.04

0.2

39

94,1/1,3

Xiuyan, Liaoning Province

Whitish

56.2

0.51

0.01

0.1

27

94.6/1.2

Baoxing, Sichuan Province

Whitish

54.3

0.20

0.05

0.3

50

95.0/1.2

Indonesia

Pamasian, Sumatra

Greyish

55.1

0.17

0.03

0.3

6

93.5/0.9

Japan

Kyushu, Kaware

Whitish

55.5

0.28

0.11

0.1

6

95.4/0.9

Malaysia

Pulai, Ipoh, Perak

Whitish

55.0

0.31

0.01

0.2

14

95.7/1.4

Pulai, Ipoh, Perak

Whitish

54.0

1.00

0.03

0.3

16

94.0/1.5

Pulai, Ipoh, Perak

Greyish

54.9

0.90

0.04

0.4

40

94.0/1.4

North Korea(1)

Kimchaek, Sangryong, quarry

Whitish

56.1

0.22

0.03

0.3

8

93.5/1.5

Kimchaek, Jang Hyon quarry

Whitish

55.5

0.22

0.02

0.1

7

94.7/0.7

Kimchaek,  Dimension stone quarry

White-grey

55.8

0.90

0.04

0.2

7

91.5/0.8

South Korea

Amdong area

Whitish

53.9

0.25

0.04

3.6

19

93.0/1.5

Shindong

White-grey

54.8

0.76

0.06

0.4

213

93.8/1.6

Chung Song

Whitish

55.2

0.33

0.04

0.06

50

94.0/1.2

Taiwan

Ho Ping

White-grey

54.8

0.54

0.02

0.2

26

94.1/0.5

Thailand

Lopburi, Khoktun

Whitish

55.5

0.36

0.01

0.5

38

94.1/1.3

Vietnam

Vinh area, South of Hanoi

Whitish

55.4

0.14

0.01

0.1

9

96.2/1.1

Dong Hop

Whitish

55.6

0.30

0.01

0.1

4

95.1/0.9

Mongson, Yenbai Province

Whitish

55.6

0.22

0.01

0.2

4

96.2/1.2

 

1 Location of Kimchaek is in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea 
Source: Ian Wilson


Table 4: Properties of marble
suitable for GCC production

Properties of marble

Typical results

Coarse-ground

Wt.% >10 microns

10-25

Wt.% <2 microns

20-50

ISO Brightness 

85-96

Fine-ground

Wt.% <2 microns

60-98

ISO Brightness

89-96

Chemistry (Wt.%)

CaO

>54.0-55.6

MgO

<1.0

Fe2O3

<0.4

Acid Insolubles

<0.5

Mn (ppm)

<100

 


Table 5: Main applications, function and quality characteristics of GCC

Application

Function

Quality characteristics

Food

Additive in food.

Controlled 4-16µ psd, low trace elements.

Paints/coatings

Used as extenders to improve paint quality;

improve opacity, matting, anti-cracking

and anti-corrosive properties.

Good brightness, fine particle size distribution (psd).

Low abrasion.

Good dispersion and flowability.

Paper filler

Imparts opacity, whiteness and printability.

High loadings and faster dewatering/drying.

Major use in uncoated wood free paper (UWF).

Good brightness (>90-95 ISO).

Particle size from 50-75µm.

Low abrasion.

Paper coating

Provides a smooth paper with superior gloss

and print quality compared to uncoated paper.

Good runnability on fast paper machines.

High brightness from 93-96 ISO.

Range of psd 90-98 wt.% <2µm.

Low abrasion. Low MgO and iron.

Pharmaceutical

Non-toxic functional filler for medical pills.

Controlled 4-16µ psd, low trace elements.

Plastics 

(includes films and 

polymer packaging)

Imparts improved colour characteristics.

Increases rigidity and thermal conductivity.

Controls rheological properties of PVC plastisols.

Improved anti-block, slip and printing of PE films.

Wide range of fine psd, low abrasion.

Good brightness and colour.

Both coated and uncoated grades.

Polyolefin

Nappy/diaper breathable film.

Allows diaper to absorb moisture.

Particle size distribution controlled.

Chemically treated.

Rubber

Provides permeability, chemical resistance and barrier properties.

Controlled psd.

Sealants and adhesives

Improves rheological properties.

Reduces water/volatile content of compound.

Consistent colour, brightness and psd.

Coated grades improve dispersion.

 


Applications of GCC

Raw calcium carbonate material can be used to make a wide range of ground GCCs, produced by grinding marble and limestone by wet processing (WGCC) or dry processing (DGCC).  GCC in turn has a number of applications, the function and main quality characteristics of which are shown in Table 5.

Global GCC production capacity   

Of the estimated 85.7m tonnes GCC produced worldwide in 2013, China accounted for 27% and the rest of Asia for 12%. Share of production by global region is shown in Figure 5.

For the 33.4m tonnes GCC produced in Asia as a whole, market utilisation is based on paper, plastics, sealants and rubber, paint and other uses, as shown in Table 6.

A split of the Chinese markets for its 23.3m tonnes of domestic GCC output is shown in Figure 6.

Paper is the largest GCC-consuming sector in China, taking 11.2m tpa, split between 6.5m tpa (58%) in coatings and 4.7m tonnes (42%) in fillers. GCC in-house production at some paper companies and suppliers of slurry are shown in Table 7.

Major areas for paper mills in China are Shandong, Yangste, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Hainan, with developing areas being Tianjin, Fujian and Sichuan (Figure 7).

Global production of paper and board (P&B) in 2013 was 403m tonnes, of which Asia accounted for 45% (China, 25% and the rest of Asia, 20%) with Europe producing 27%, North America 21%, Latin America 5%, Oceania 1% and Africa 1%, as shown in Figure 8.

Production of P&B in China from 2004-2013 is shown in Figure 9.

Following a steep rise in P&B production in China from 2004-2012, there was a slowdown in 2013, with a decrease of 1.4% in the market. There will be few new projects for coated paper and it is anticipated that it will take the next three years to absorb current overcapacity in the sector. 

Coated board/carton board production will continue to grow and additional tissue capacity will come on stream, even though there is already a surplus of these products. 

However, technical developments will be employed to cut costs, while more starch will be used to replace SB Latex and old polluting mills will continue to be shut down, especially in eastern China. There is also likely to be
price cutting in the industry, with lower margins than the present 5-6% level, which are already down 10% from levels seen eight years ago. Estimates suggest that these will drop to 4%.

Table 6: GCC market split of 33.4m tonnes

Market

% GCC production

Paper

46

Plastics, sealants and rubber

41

Paint

9

Other uses

4

Total

100

 

Source: Ian Wilson (estimate)


Table 7: Estimated GCC production in-house at paper mills
and suppliers (2013)

Company

Plant

Tonnage

Total

APP – 6 plants

Dagang Gold East

600,000

1,810,000

Suzhou

30,000

Hainan

800,000

Qingzhou

300,000

Ningbo (1)

30,000

Ningbo (2)

50,000

Chenming

Shandong

800,000

800,000

Sun Paper

Purchase

200,000

600,000

Plant at Mill

400,000

Central Sunshine

Shandong

400,000

400,000

Bohui  Paper

Shandong/Jiangxu

700,000

700,000

Imerys – 2 Plants

Nanling, Changshu

550,000

550,000

Omya – 3 plants

Changshu

330,000

450,000

Hongmei, Guangdong

50,000

Jianmeng, Guangdong

100,000

 

Source: Ian Wilson (estimate) 


Figure 5: Global capacity share of GCC for 2013

GGC5  

Source: Ian Wilson (estimate)


Figure 6: Split of Chinese GCC markets for 23.3m tonnes

GGC6  

Source: Ian Wilson (estimate) 


GCC7  

Figure 7: Major and developing provinces for paper mills in China.


Figure 8: Global production of P&B in 2013

GCC8  

Source:  2014 RISI Annual Review of Pulp & Paper Statistics


GCC production in the rest of Asia

GCC production in India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam cumulatively came to 10.1m tonnes in 2013. The split by market use for this figure is shown in Figure 10 and a country by country summary of the industry follows below.

India

India’s major GCC companies are 20 Microns Ltd, Fimaken India, Gushan Sugar & Chemicals Ltd, Imerys (India), Vimal Microns Ltd and Wolkem Ltd.    

For 750,000 tpa GCC production, the Indian market split is 47% for paper, 40% for plastic, sealants and rubber, 8% for paint and 5% other uses. The main end uses for plastics in India are packaging, PVC cables, pipes and fittings.   

Asian Paints and Kansai Nerolac are important domestic paint producers and consumers of GCC.

Imerys Carbonates have a joint venture
(JV) with major paper company Ballapur Industries (BILT), with a GCC slurry plant near to the paper mill in Bhigwan. Imerys GCC products are Carbital-60 and 70, used for pre-coat formulations. Carbital-90, 95 and 97 are fine grain GCC used for topcoat formulations and Carbilux is a very fine-grain GCC (99% <2µm) for topcoat applications and helps to maintain gloss and smoothness of the coated paper or board even at low
clay levels. 

Marble chippings are imported from Imerys quarry and crushing plant at Pulai, in Ipoh.  

Figure 9: Production of P&B in China from 2004-2013
(millions of tonnes)

GCC9  

Source: China Paper Association, 2014 Report on China
Pulp & Paper Industry 


Figure 10: GCC market use for Asia (excluding China) 

GCC10  

Source: Ian Wilson (estimate)


Indonesia

Indonesia’s GCC production in 2013 was 1.17m tonnes GCC, with 64% for paper, 26% for plastics, sealants and rubber, 6% for paint and 4% for other uses. 

The top GCC companies in Indonesia are Tjiwi Kmia paper mill, which belongs to APP in Tanggerang (West Java); Imerys Indonesia’s JV with Riau Paper mill in Kerinci near Pakenbaru (Sumatra); two plants belonging to Omya Indonesia at Pacitan, near Tuban (Java) and at Sisoario and Surabaya (East Java); and two plants belonging to Finexco Prima (Fimatec) at Surabaya and Pasurun (East Java).    

Omya Indonesia produces a range of dry ground GCC (Omyacarb) products, mainly for plastics, paint, rubber and some for paper. It also makes wet GCC slurry products  (Hydrocarb) for P&B, paper filler and coatings with a range of particle sizes from 60-90 wt.% <2 microns. Setacarb is Omya’s premium paper coating grade.   

Malaysia

Malaysia’s main GCC-producing companies are Imerys and Omya. 

Imerys produces a wide range of products from its plant at Ipoh, with wet and dry processing facilities. The main markets for its production are plastic, sealants and rubber with a high quality product for latex from wet milling.   

Omya Malaysia Sdn Bhd has two plants in Ipoh at Simpang Pulai and Bercham, with a third plant in Keramat Pulai. Imerys Carbonates is the largest producer of GCC in Malaysia, with mines and a plant at Pulai, Ipoh, producing a wide range of dry GCC uncoated and surface treated products, mainly for plastic, sealants, paper and latex. Additionally, wet processing produces a fine particle size product for latex.      

Approximately 65% of GCC production in Malaysia is for plastic, sealants, rubber and latex. A further 22% goes into paper, 5% for paint and 8% for other uses.

Japan

Production of GCC in Japan was estimated at 2.4m tonnes in 2013, with 50% for paper, 38% for plastics, sealants and rubber, 8% for paint and 4% for other uses.    

Many paper mills have in-house wet GCC slurry plants, including those at Mitsubishi, New Oji and Nippon Paper Industries. Nippon has plants at Ishinomaki, Miyagi and Shiraoi, Hokkaido (both of which are JVs with local producer Fimatec) and Iwakuni.   

Fimatec has four slurry plants at Akita, Fuji, Soma and Tomano supplying paper mills.   

Imerys Carbonates has two plants at Fuji (Shizuoka) and Ishinomaki (Miyagi), supplying slurry for paper. Major companies supplying dry GCC for plastics, sealants, rubber and paint are Mauro Calcium, which has plants at Ami, Katsuyama and Yasuoka; Nitto Funka Co., with three plants at Tojo, Suzuka and Tamura-gun; Sankyu Slfun Co., with two plants at Nimm-Shi and Tamura-gun; and Takehara Chemical Co., with two plants at Fukushima and Tojo.

South Korea

South Korean production of GCC in 2013 was estimated at 2.2m tonnes, with 45% for paper, 41% for plastic and rubber, 5% for paint and 9% for other uses.    

Omya Korea Inc. has five plants and accounts for 1.3m tonnes (59% of output). The company runs the Hambaek plant at Gangwon-do; the Chechon plant at Chungcheonbuk-do; the Kunsan plant at Jeollabuk-do and the Andong plant at Geongsangbuk-do. Omya Handuk Chemical Inc. runs the Onsan Plant at Ulsan, meanwhile.

The Andong, Kunsan and Hambaek plants produce slurry for paper and a range of coated and uncoated dry GCC, with output from the Chechon plant mainly going into plastics and paint. 

Taekyung Industry at Chungbuk produces 200,000 tpa GCC, mainly for paper slurry and dry GCC for non-paper uses.     

Rex Materials (REXM) at Taibaek, formerly known as Wangpyo Chemical, produces 200,000 tpa GCC mainly for plastics and paint. 

GMC is a new local company and has a production capacity of 250,000 tpa GCC.    

There are about eight small companies in Korea with a combined production of 350,000 tpa. Korea’s production of P&B has decreased over the last few years due to overcapacity and less demand for paper. In Korea in 2013-14, one art paper machine at Hansol Paper’s Janghang mill was changed to a thermal paper line. Therefore, total GCC consumption might well drop to below 1m tonnes in 2014. 

Taiwan

Taiwan produces around 1.21m tonnes GCC, with 17% for paper, 75% for plastics, sealants and rubber, 4% for paint and 4% for other uses. The largest GCC producer in Taiwan is Formosa Plastic at Tangshan and I-Lan, with its main sources of marble coming from the RSEA and Yu Cheng quarries in the Hoping area. The main companies supplying paper slurry to the paper industry are Omya Taiwan, located in Su Ao, and Imerys Taiwan, with a plant in Kaohsiung.    

For dry ground GCC, the major companies are Jia Dah Chemical, which supplies mainly plastics markets; Lih Hsiang Chemical, which supplies material mainly for plastics and paint under its Elephant brand; Mai Lin Whitestone, which mainly produces for plastics; and Diamond Chemical, which also sends the bulk of its output to plastics manufacturers.

Omya and Imerys are the two main GCC producers of coating and filler slurry for the paper industry. Imerys Carbonates produces Carbital GCC slurry from its plant at Ta Liao, Kaoshiung. Lih-Hsiang Omya Corp. has a plant at Su-Ao I-Lan Hsien, supplying slurry to paper mills. 

Thailand

Thailand produces 1.2m tonnes GCC, with 38% for paper, 54% for plastics, sealants and rubber, 5% for paint and 3% for other uses. 

Surint Omya Indo-China (a JV between the Surint family and Omya) has a plant near Lopburi and controls some marble deposits nearby at Khoktum, with wet and dry processing mainly for plastics and slurry for paper. The company’s GCC capacity is 500,000 tpa. 

Fimatec has a wet processing facility at Sing Buri.   

Golden Lime Public Co. Ltd produces lime products (quicklime and hydrated lime) and GCC, with two factories located in Chongsarika (Lopburi) and Napralan (Saraburi), with the company controlled by the Monsereenusorn family.  Its GCC products are mainly for plastics, paint, rubber and sealants with uncoated and coated grades. Grades produced by Golden Lime are Micro-Ti, Micro-99, Whitefill and Turboflex.   

Imerys Carbonates (Thailand) has a plant in Phatthana Nikhom District in Lopburi, producing coated and uncoated GCC grades for the plastics, rubber and paint industries.   

Quality Minerals Public Co. Ltd has a GCC plant in Lopburi close to the Khoktum marble deposit, with a capacity of 150,000 tpa. Quality Minerals produces coated and uncoated grades for PVC pipe and cable, plastic packaging, rubber and Calcium Masterbatch (Calpet). 

Vietnam

Vietnam produces 400,000 tpa GCC, with estimated utilisation in paper at 20%; plastics, sealant and rubber at 43%; paint at 15%; and other uses at 22%.   

Surint Omya Vietnam (SOV) is located in Go Dau industrial zone in Dongnai, south Vietnam, with a capacity of 100,000 tpa. The plant produces uncoated and coated GCC for plastics, paint, paper, rubber and other applications.   

Imerys Carbonates has a local company called Imerys Minerals Vietnam, with a plant in Yen Bai and high quality marble production at Mongson in the Yen Binh district of Yen Bai province. The marble deposit consists of coarse-grained crystalline marble with >96 ISO brightness available.    

Acknowledgements

Thanks to following for information for this article:  

S B Park (Consultant SBP Resources Ltd, South Korea)

Larry Lai (President, Ye Lie Enterprise, Shanghai, China)

Rocky Wu (Chairman, Rocky Mountains Development Co. Ltd, Shenzhen, China) 

Industrial Minerals, Roskill Information Services and websites of Imerys and Omya, amongst others.

*Ian Wilson is a consultant based in the UK.