Pyroxenite is an ultrabasic rock that consists of minerals that belong to the pyroxenes group– predominantly, ferromagnesian minerals other than olivine. Ferromagnesian minerals is a commercial source of magnesia coupled with silica, particularly used in metallurgy applications. Pyroxenite is used as a fluxing as well as sintering agent in blast furnace operations, particularly in the steel & iron industry. Pyroxenite offers several benefits over dolomite, which also is used as a fluxing agent in the steel manufacturing process. Pyroxenite aids in increasing the productivity of this process by 4%–5% and helps in reducing the usage of dolomite. In addition, it helps in reducing the coke content, due to its high content of minerals such as magnesium oxide and silica content in an assimilated form. This further reduces the energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Apart from the steel industry, pyroxenite is used in the construction industry, particularly for building the kitchen counter tops, interior decorations, and walls.
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Based on grade, the pyroxenite market can be bifurcated into Grade-I and Grade-II. Grade-I pyroxenite is composed of the following minerals: MgO (30%–34%), SiO2 (50%–55%), Al2O3 (1%–2%), CaO (<1.5), and Cr2O3 (0.7%–1.2%); whereas Grade-II pyroxenite comprises MgO (34%–38%), SiO2 (30%–35%), Al2O3 (1.5%–3%), CaO (<1.5), and Cr2O3 (4%–7%). Grade-II pyroxenite contains a nominal amount of silica and magnesia content, which reduces the sintering temperature by 100°C. Also, it does not require pre-heating treatment, which reduces the energy consumption and results in lower amount of coke and CO2 and lower slag volume. However, the use of Grade-I pyroxenite is restricted in low-silica iron ores due to presence of high silica content, which leads to excessive slag formation. Thus, demand for Grade-II pyroxenite is expected to rise significantly during the forecast period. This is attributed mainly to its characteristic features. Furthermore, demand for Grade-I pyroxenite is anticipated to rise moderately in high-iron ore operations during the forecast period.
Pyroxenite plays an important role in the steel & iron industry. Rise in demand for cutting the manufacturing costs and increasing the production capacity is the primary factor driving the pyroxenite market. Continuous focus on high-value steels provides the manufacturer with a competitive edge to opt for quality material. This further enhances the growth prospects of the pyroxenite market. Rising prices of raw materials, high production costs and increased mining activities are some of the factors hindering the growth of the market for pyroxenite. However, development of new products for faster execution in construction projects, recovery of the automotive steel sector, and focus on the new markets are factors anticipated to offer new opportunities for players operating in the pyroxenite market.
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Geographically, the global market for pyroxenite can be segregated into Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe are expected to dominate the global pyroxenite market during the forecast period. In terms of production of steel, China is a leading market for pyroxenite, followed by Japan, the U.S., India, South Korea, and Germany. For the last few years, the market size of the steel & iron industry has been declining, due to over-production and price drop. This, in turn, is impacting the pyroxenite market as well. In terms of consumption of pyroxenite, China dominates the pyroxenite market in Asia Pacific, due to the rise in consumption of steel, particularly in the construction industry in the country. Furthermore, rising investments in the infrastructure and decreased dependence on industrial imports are factors fueling the pyroxenite demand in China. The demand for pyroxenite in the U.S., Germany, and France is also likely to increase in the next few years, due to rising demand for steel in automotive, pipelines, machinery & equipment, and motor industries in these countries. Steel manufacturers in developing economies in Latin America and Middle East & Africa are entering into partnerships to develop good-quality steel products that would meet the specific needs of different industrial applications.
Major players operating in the global pyroxenite market are Tata Steel, Bharat Mining Company, Foskor (Pty) Ltd., and Vale SA.