The growing chlor-alkali industry and rising polyvinyl
chloride (PVC) demand in China will boost salt imports in the
country, research consultancy Roskill told delegates at its
conference in Düsseldorf, Germany, in March.
Roskill expects China salt demand for chlor-alkali
production to exceed 70m tonnes by 2025, analyst Kerry
Satterthwaite said during the presentation.
High-purity salt is the feedstock for producing chlorine,
which is a key raw material in PVC, and makes up more than half
(57%) of the polymer.
Salt consumption for PVC accounts for 38% of global demand,
according to Roskill.
takes to the stand
China is the world’s biggest salt producer,
domestic production is insufficient to meet growing demand.
"China’s salt industry cannot produce enough
high-purity salt to feed the chlor-alkali industry. This is why
the country that produces 60m tonnes has to import salt,"
Domestic production was also less competitively priced than
imports, she added.
China imported 4m tonnes of salt in 2016, according to
In 2015, India overtook Australia as the largest solar salt
supplier to China. It exported just under 3m tonnes of salt,
Despite the "massive success story" of Indian salt exports,
Australia and Mexico remained the top salt suppliers in Asia,
exporting to Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and
demand to drive salt consumption
demand will correlate with construction activity as up to 70%
of PVC is used in construction, according to
are the largest individual application and water infrastructure
is a major driver. Electric vehicles and cabling account for
the rest of the PVC demand.
housing demand growth will continue to drive PVC demand,
in Asia, demand is also set to increase as countries move away
from using traditional materials and switched to PVC, she
demand in the world is estimated at 48m tonnes in 2017 and
China is expected to consume 18m tonnes – or more than
one-third of global consumption. By 2025, global PVC demand
will exceed 60m tonnes, according to Roskill’s
that affects PVC, will also affect salt," said Satterthwaite,
and "the chlor-alkali trend suggests salt imports will
in China are expected to continue to be the main driver of the
chlor-alkali industry to 2025."
Salt production could move out of
Salt production is moving out of Europe to countries with
access to raw materials, lower energy cost and friendly
government policy, engineering company Salt Partners said at
the conference in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Salt is a key raw material for chlorine production and lower
salt production in Europe over the decade was accompanied by
falling chlorine output, Vladimir M. Sedivy, president of the
Salt Partners said during his presentation.
Salt output in Germany fell more than one-third to 13.4m
tonnes in 2015, down 33% compared with the volume in 2006.
Germany is one of the largest salt producing countries in
Europe, cited Sedivy.
Out of the seven salt-producing European countries, only
Spain has increased output year-on-year by 1.4% to 4.43m tonnes
in 2015, according to Sedivy.
Total salt production in Europe between Germany, Russia,
France, the Netherlands, UK, Spain and Poland fell to 49.3m
tonnes in 2015, down 18% compared to 2006.
"The same time the 18% drop [in salt production] is taking
place, the chlorine output went down by more than 10% in
Europe," Sedivy said. "There are changes happening in Europe,
the chlorine industry is leaving Europe."
Sedivy believes that the petrochemical industry in Europe is
stagnating, which could further encourage salt production and
downstream chlorine industry to move to the Middle East, East
Asia-Pacific and South America due to abundant raw materials
and supportive government policy there.
"It is moving to countries that has the raw materials [and]
more friendly legislation that support the industry, that has
the will to do it, such as the countries in the Middle
This article from the May Industrial Minerals magazine
first published online
on 31 March 2017.