The global borates market is over 2 million tonnes of B₂O₃ equivalent with the key traditional industries being glass, ceramics, modern medicines, agriculture and detergents.

The global borates market is expected to grow at 3% CAGR for the next five years to reach 2.65 million tonnes (Mt) B₂O₃ equivalent by 2023.

Global Borates Demand Outlook

This increase in demand of refined borates is equivalent to 344,000 Mt of Borax Pentahydrate and 201,000 Mt of Boric Acid, a very substantial amount. Trade of Borax Pentahydrate and Decahydrate have grown by 30% in the past two years from 1,371 Kilo Metric Tonnes (KMT) in 2016 to 1,781 KMT in 2018.

Key demand drivers in the borates market are growth in urbanisation (global housing market), global population, sustainable food supply and energy production.

Global Borax Pentahydrate and Decahydrate Imports (000 Mt)

Global Borax Pentahydrate and Decahydrate Imports

Rio Tinto Borates in the US (~30%) and ETi MADEN of Turkey (>50%) account for approximately 80% of total global market share, with Asia maintaining its position as the largest regional consumer of borates, accounting for more than 50% of total global consumption.

Borates increase the mechanical strength of glass, as well as their resistance to thermal shock, chemicals and water. Glass manufacturing is a key market for borates accounting for more than 50% of global consumption, predominantly comprised of fibreglass (both insulation and electronics) and borosilicate glasses.

Borates have been an essential ingredient in ceramic and enamel glazes for centuries, integral to affixing glazes or enamels, and enhancing their durability. Borates continue to gain acceptance as an essential ingredient in ceramic tile bodies, allowing manufacturers to use a wider range of clays, heightening productivity and decreasing energy usage during production.

Global Borate Consumption Rates

Agricultural markets account for a significant share (~15%) of the total global consumption. At the cellular level, boron is integral to a plant’s reproductive cycle. Boron controls flowering, pollen production, germination, and seed and fruit development. As a non-substitutable micronutrient, boron also acts as a plant’s fuel pump, helping move sugars from older leaves to new growth areas and root systems.

Every continent of the world suffers diminished crop yields due to insufficient boron concentrations in the soil. These deficiencies can be corrected using borate fertilisers.

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