Bentonite is colloidal or aluminum silicate clay stone or mineral which is formed by alteration of volcanic ash in marine environments. It is contains more than 50% montmorillonite. It has a unique chemical structure which enables it to act as a binder, sealant, thickener, absorption and lubricant agent. It is used in many foundry applications for instance sand casting applications. It is employed as a green sand additive or binder in metal casting applications. It is also used as a key constituent of drilling fluids in oil & gas industry.
Some important properties are viscosity & thixotropy of aqueous suspensions, water absorption & swelling, binding property, colloidal & waterproofing properties and surface properties such as coagulation, adsorption and absorption. These properties make it a multi-application product for various industries.
According to study, “Bentonite Mining Global Market Report 2019” the key companies operating in the bentonite mining global market are Wyo-Ben Inc, Amcol International, Huawei Bentonite, Cimbar, Minerals Technologies Inc., Clariant International Ltd., IMERYS SA, Ashapura Group, American Colloid Co., Midpoint Chemicals Company, Bentonite Performance Minerals LLC, Canbensan, Dantonit A/S, Amsyn Inc, Volclay International, Cimbar, Charles B. Crystal Co Inc. These key players are involving in initiatives for instance the expansion of production capacity in order to provide the increasing demand for bentonite.
Based on product type, the bentonite mining market is segmented into calcium bentonite and sodium bentonite. Sodium bentonite is used in drilling mud for oil & gas wells and boreholes for geo-technical & environmental investigations. Additionally, the European Bentonite Association (EUBA) is a government organization that qualitatively distinct five types of bentonite: activated bentonite, calcium bentonite, natural sodium bentonite, acid activated bentonite and organofilic bentonite. Moreover, based on application, market is segmented into drilling mud, foundry sands, iron ore pelletizing, pet products (cat litter and cattle feed), paper, construction, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
The bentonite mining market is primarily driven by rise in demand for iron ore pelletizing in steel manufacturing, followed by increase in demand for availability of credit, rise in disposable income and growing demand for bentonite in oil & gas industry. However, the market is anticipated to face certain restraints from several factors for instance increase interest rate, stringent regulations by government and workforce issues & safety.
Based on geography, the Asia Pacific region holds significant market share owing to the high demand for bentonite in construction industry in the region. North American region is expected to witness a healthy rise due to increase in usage of bentonite in pet products for instance cat litter and cattle feed. Europe is also expected to witness considerable growth on account of increase in the green sand casting process in foundry segment in the region. The Middle East and Africa and Latin America is likely to grow at a moderate pace caused by the increase in large oil drilling activities and expansion of the automotive & heavy equipment manufacturing industries in these regions.
In upcoming years, the global bentonite mining market is anticipated to significantly rise due to improved earning capacity, increase in positive economic outlook and emerging markets growth.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications