First created thousands of years ago, humans have essentially perfected the fine art of glass creation. Often taken for granted, glassmaking necessitates correctly sized, consistent, and low iron silica sand. Silica sand represents almost 70% of the raw material by volume in glass, but is far less in value terms. Silica sand is typically classified by glass manufacturers into separate groups based on their physical and chemical properties. As impurities inherently found in silica sand are dependent on different geographical sources, glass manufacturers have set specifications for every source of approved glass grade silica sand.
Go clean, go green mantra for silica sands in the food & beverage sector
A rising preference for hygienic and transparent packaging in the food & beverage sector is the primary driver of the glass grade silica sands market. The food & beverage industry represents the best scope for growth for key players as it accounts for nearly half of all revenue in the glass grade silica sands market. While the construction and automotive industries are also witnessing moderate growth, it is unlikely that they will catch up to the food & beverage sector anytime soon.
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Chinese and Indian buyers for Korean glass and Japanese cars
With a robust manufacturing industry coupled with higher per-capita consumption of container glass in China, South Korea, and Japan, it is no surprise that East Asia and therefore the APAC region comprises the bulk of the global glass grade silica sands market. China in particular is the largest automotive market in the world, and South Korea and Japan are exporting powerhouses fueling their insatiable demand. Along with East Asia, companies would be advised to focus their attention on South Asia as the glass-making industry is on track to post substantial growth in the near term. The construction industry is on an upswing in the APAC region, fueled by residential, non-residential, and commercial projects. Flat-glass is a critical component in aesthetic appearance, windows, and glazing. Furthermore, greater demand for enhanced aesthetics in residential and commercial complexes benefits the overall glass grade silica sands market.
Profitability 20x more in high-grade as opposed to ultra-high-grade silica sand
When it comes to end-users, the glass grade silica sands market can be subdivided into glass, foundry, hydraulic fracturing, abrasives and filtration. The glass industry holds a commanding position of roughly a third of the overall glass grade silica sands market. High purity grade silica-sand is predicted to account for a major portion of the growth in the glass grade silica sands market over the years to come. Manufacturers should be able to shore up their bottom lines from high grade silica sand to the extent of almost 20x greater than that of ultra-high purity silica sand.
Superior technology and changing aesthetic preferences boost demand for glass grade silica sand
An increasing use of solar control glazing for building and automotive glass, preference for hybrid guide plates, nanotechnology in flat glass, and lightweight glazing glass aid the glass industry, lifting the boat of the glass grade silica sands market with it. Many countries opt for natural shale gas to reduce their dependence on crude oil. Shale is primarily extracted via hydraulic fracturing, in which silica sand is a proppant.
Cheaper hydraulic fracturing ensures North America stays numero uno
Large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Tour Triangle, ASVEL, Nimes – Montpellier rail bypass in France are expected to grow the Europe glass-grass silica sands market. However, Europe still trails behind North America as a result of the dominance of the US market. Hydraulic fracturing is considerably cheaper in the US when compared to substitutes.
No company dominates the glass grade silica sands market – for now
The glass-grass silica sands market is characterized by its fragmentation as a number of players battle it out. Some of the key players involved include Covia Holdings Corporation, Superior Silica Sands, Chongqing Changjiang River Moulding Material (Group) Co. Ltd, U.S. SILICA, Sibelco, Tochu Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Fairmount Minerals, and Sibelco. In March 2020, Superior Silica announced the reinstatement of its mining permit in Chippewa County and a restart of the Auburn mine. The company has resolved all outstanding issues and has declared its long-standing commitment to Chippewa County. Perhaps other companies could follow in their wake and invest in the US glass grade silica sand market in the immediate term to reap benefits in the long run.
KEY QUESTIONS ANSWERED IN THE REPORT
- What is the market size and growth rate of the global and regional markets by various segments?
- What is the market size and growth rate of the market for selective countries?
- Which region or sub-segment is expected to drive the market during the forecast period?
- What factors are anticipated to impact demand and supply trends in the market during the forecast period?
- What factors are likely to drive market revenue growth during the forecast period?
- What are the key technology and other trends shaping the market?
- What are the key opportunities in the market?
- What are some of the strategies implemented by key companies operating in the market?
- What is the COVID-19 impact on the market?