In 1967, two years before the very first standalone issue of
Industrial Minerals was published, Gabriel Garcia
Marquez’ book 100 Years of Solitude
The premise of the text was not simple. Essentially, it
tracked the lives of a family who repeatedly had children that
they called the same name and who survived wars and famines and
love and ruin.
On another level it questioned the very concept of time. In
this novel, time was not presented as linear. There was no
start or end; rather, its passing was marked by similar events
that happened to same-named individuals. Time was presented as
Macondo, the town created at the beginning of the novel, was
a town made of mirrors born from dust and to this it would
return. Reality, like time, was an imagined concept.
And what does this have to do with Industrial Minerals?
Well, both nothing and everything. It is not only life in
Macondo which is cyclical.
Markets, the economy, are all cyclical. One of the first
lessons learned in economics is that trends have a habit of
repeating themselves. Bubbles burst. Stock runs out. Freak
weather happens. Prices go up and come down.
For 50 years Industrial Minerals has been reporting to you:
the supplier, the buyer, the processor, the shipper, the
trader. It has been the onlooker which sees most of the game
and has always told it how it is.
A series of editorial teams (who, unlike
Marquez’ fictional characters have had many
different names, several of which will be well-known to
readers), have seen prices go up and crash down over 50
We have seen the rise of unparalleled interest in a market
which was once dormant and of interest only to its primary
We’ve reported on freight rates, regulation,
end markets. Sat across from state ministers. Met artisan
miners. Scrambled in and out of mine shafts and tramped across
featureless wildernesses on the promise that mineral riches lay
beneath our feet.
We’ve discussed which slurry pipe is best
suited for transporting waste; which by-product will determine
the viability, or not, of a high-risk mining project; and
speculated on whether evolving technology will create a new
market for a niche and barely known mineral.
We’ve put together events, infographics.
Supplement reports, maps. We developed an App. We even had a TV
channel for a while. Never let it be said that we did not bring
industrial minerals news to you in ways as diverse as the
collection of industries we serve.
And while this is the end of an era in one way, that work
will continue, albeit in a different format.
This will be the last issue of Industrial Minerals magazine
before it returns to be published within Metal Markets Magazine
(formerly Metal Bulletin).
Online, however, subscribers will continue to find a breadth
of knowledge. Fastmarkets will continue to produce supply and
demand data, price trend analysis, uncover end use markets and
bring you top producers' data as it is published. News will
continue to be market-driven.
And for the last time…
In this issue, Rose Pengelly looks at the increasing burden
of international sanctions on exporters and shippers of
industrial minerals and how the commodities and insurance
industries are struggling to police regulations laid down by
For this month’s executive interview, Ross
Davies speaks to Chris Douville, president of the American
Natural Soda Ash Corporation (Ansac), the world’s
largest soda ash exporter, about the future of a corporation
recently deserted by one of its key members amid uncertain
conditions for the global soda ash market (pp22-23).
In one of our regular looks at the fast-moving world of
battery materials, Jon Stibbs considers how the EU is
responding politically to surging local battery production
capacity (p25) and Martim Facada discusses how the way that
lithium is traded is evolving with end market needs (p26).
Also in this issue, William Clarke and Carrie Shi evaluate
China’s magnesia market dilemma (pp30-34) and in a
second feature this month, Clarke takes a sweeping look at the
challenges facing the global titanium dioxide industry
Finally, regular contributor Sunder Singh gives a flavor of
the frustration felt in India’s mining industry
about the repeated disappointments of government plans to
reform the domestic minerals sector (pp39-42).